Two children who were suspected to have died of chickenpox in Kalaburagi district recently have now tested negative for the varicella-zoster (chickenpox) virus.
The deceased children are brothers Imran Patel (9) and Rehman Patel (15), who died on January 17 and 31, respectively.
The children’s blood samples had been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Bengaluru, for testing. NIV said clues to the children’s deaths now have to be found by clinical correlation.
Dr Ashok Munivenkatappa, scientist, ICMR-NIV, Bengaluru unit, told DH, “They (chickenpox reports) are negative. Clinically, they (district administration) should correlate (on cause of death).”
Chittapur taluk health officer Dr Amardeep Pawar said, “We have received the reports. The children were found to be negative for measles-rubella too. The family members, who had also contracted suspected chickenpox, have all been cured. They too tested negative for the disease.”
After diagnosis at a private hospital in Solapur, Maharashtra, they were suspected to chickenpox cases.
The negative reports reconfirms the health department’s record of having reported 135 cases of chickenpox in 2021 and 58 cases till February 4 this year and yet not reporting a single death.
State health commissioner D Randeep, said, “The routine immunisation programme doesn’t have a vaccine against chicken pox. Chickenpox and diphtheria in older children and adults will be more severe, with complications like meningitis and pneumonia, and can become fatal.”
Dr Basavaraj G V, professor, Paediatrics, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health said that vaccine was available in the private sector and deaths were preventable.
Once infected, a child acquires lifelong immunity and does not get chickenpox again, he added.
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