Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in northern India, reports fatalities from a new fever that emerged over the week. Most of the cases were among children.

According to the BBC, more than 40 children and a dozen adults perished in just a week after contracting the fever. 

Aside from body sweat from high fever, patients have joint pains, headaches, dehydration, and nausea. Others can even have rashes appearing on their legs and arms and declined platelet counts.

The mysterious fever had forced hundreds of people in six districts in the eastern part of the state to seek hospital treatment.

According to The Independent, due to the fast manifestation of the disease, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had to call for an immediate increase in hospital bed capacity.

“Directions have been issued to ensure adequate manpower at medical colleges,” he said.

He has also requested that the district health department investigate the cause of the fever in-depth, the outlet added. 

Affected districts were ordered to close their schools again. They had already endured a period of protracted absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts suspect the disease may have been dengue, a typical tropical illness mainly brought about by mosquitos. The BBC said that dengue is a common disease in Asia and five times more fatal in children than adults.

The Independent said the state government had ruled out dengue as the culprit, with Adityanath saying the first incident of the unknown fever was recorded on Aug. 18.

“Due to lack of awareness at the local level, the patients were taken to private hospitals and clinics. After learning about the fever, the health department and administration appraised authorities of the situation at the state level,” he said.

In Firozabad medical college, many children were seen waiting with their anxious parents to meet doctors.

On Monday, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), lawmaker Manish Asija from Firozabad said several children had died of the fever in just a few days. He pointed to water-logging, lack of sanitation, and poor hygiene contributing to the disease’s rapid power over the community.

NDTV reported from a family, which said their six-year-old boy died just three days after contracting the high fever, so rapid was its progress that they could not bring him to the hospital.

One Firozabad resident took to social media and shared that their brother was on a ventilator in the ICU, then his heart, lung, brain, and kidney stopped working. He was not a COVID-19 patient but instead suffered from a mysterious fever. 

A report by Live Hindustan said the deaths were believed to be related to scrub typhus after it was discovered in samples taken from Mathura’s Koh village.

According to The Independent, Scrub typhus, often known as bush typhus, is caused by bacteria transmitted by infected viral mite bites. Symptoms usually appear within 10 days of being bitten. 

Due to scrub typhus, patients may suffer fever and chills, as well as headaches, body aches, rashes, and muscle soreness. 

When children started to die in 2014 in Gorakhpur, antibodies to these scrub typhus bacteria were also detected.