Swine Flu: Two more deaths in Mumbai, medical experts on alert

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Swine-flu-h1n1Aug 4, Mumbai: The H1N1 virus struck twice in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, claiming two more life in Mumbai over the past week, has made medical experts to sound an alert and not dismiss it as one of those ailments of the rainy season.

Suman Kamble (44) was a healthcare worker, posted at Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) in Nerul. Chief health officer of NMMC Dr Ramesh Nikam said, “It is very unfortunate that this is the second death due to H1N1 in Navi Mumbai this year, and the fact that she was one of our staffers makes it worse.” He added that Kamble was diagnosed as H1N1 positive on July 28 and had been on antiviral treatment. She died on Wednesday afternoon.

On the same day, Vinay Talewar (19) who was suffering from pneumonia also passed away at the Kasturba Hospital Chinchpokli. Doctors suspect his condition was undiagnosed for ten days. He weighed a mere 35kg.

Families of both the victims have already been screened. Nikam said Kamble was survived by her bank employee husband and a son. “Both have been given the antiviral as a preventive measure. A carpenter who had recently worked at their house has also been given the medicine,” he said.

Till the showers began, experts and researchers thought the H1N1 influenza, loosely referred to as swine flu, had run its course and will now continue to circulate as seasonal virus. But cases started pouring in as rains started and increased from 35 in June to 151 in July, an increase of 300%. In the first few days of August, 21 people have already tested positive. An expert from Kasturba Hospital said that people from almost every age group are getting the infection, though it is slightly higher among the working population for obvious reasons.

NIV director Dr A C Mishra called it a behavioural pattern of the virus and nothing more. “Any influenza peaks in monsoon and dies down gradually. So far, there have been no mutations or any change that could explain the incidence this year,” he said. Dr Om Srivastava, an Infectious diseases consultant with Jaslok Hospital, said it is time for citizens to become alert but not panic. “We are surely better equipped now to diagnose as well as treat,” he said.

But Srivastava cautioned that patients should not take the infection lightly. He recounted an incident where one of his patients had tested positive and even advised the antiviral course. But the patient did not start the medication till the next day. “This way the person runs a risk of complicating his condition as well as infecting others,” he said, adding even physicians need to be alert and sensitised about the renewed circulation of the virus.

Besides the casualties, the incidents showed how grossly mismanaged the swine flu situation in the city is. The BMC’s epidemiology cell had no news about Talwewar’s death till Thursday morning. Executive health officer Dr Arun Bamne said the slip-up could have happened at the hospital’s end. “Henceforth, all hospitals will have to inform the epidemiology cell immediately after an H1N1 death,” he said.

So far this year, 222 people have tested positive for H1N1. With the deaths, the toll in the state has gone up to 35, including four in Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

News Gathered by India News

Posted by on Saturday, August 4th, 2012. Filed under Health, Life Style. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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