Two deaths caused by swine flu were registered in the city on Friday, pushing the death toll to four within three days. A 10-year-old girl from Dhankawadi and a 58-year-old lady resident of Ghorpadi Peth succumbed to the dreaded virus. While the former, Amruta Joshi, died at Bharati Hospital after being admitted on Thursday, the elder lady identified as Bharati Subhangi Kulkarni was admitted to Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital on March 8.
This was the sixth death in Maharashtra since April 2011 — Pune has recorded the highest number of H1N1 deaths in the country. Earlier, Kanta Sarode and Shirkan Shinde had succumbed to the disease over the last two days.
In the month of March, a steady increase in patients has been observed. Till date, 27 positive cases have been found in the city, out of which 13 have been admitted to different hospitals. Six of these are in a critical condition, two in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) limits, and four in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) limits.
Around 43 government hospitals and 13 private ones in the city are prepared to handle the potentially explosive situation. All these hospitals are screening possible patients and admitting them to the hospitals for at least three days if they sport suspicious symptoms.
For example, the Naidu Hospital for contagious diseases admitted three such female patients over the last five days. When Mirror went to the hospital, a family was visiting their six-year-old son. The parents said, “Our son had a cold and cough for the last three days. We kept him at home and finally came for a check up. When the doctor suspected swine flu, they recommended that he be quarantined.”
After the epidemic in 2009, the State government implemented the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 in the city, which makes the district collector responsible for handling the situation. District Collector Vikas Deshmukh held a meeting of all concerned State government medical officers to review the situation on Friday morning and take action. Besides, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and health minister Suresh Shetty called an emergency meeting of top health officers on Friday evening as well.
City schools take action
► Lathika Mohandas, Principal, Sinhagad Springdale School
“We have not issued any instructions yet. We will have to have a meeting soon to decide what steps to take next.”
► Jayashree Venkatraman, Principal, DAV Public School, Aundh
“We have deployed our medical attendants to inform teachers if they find any students suffering from cough, cold and flu. We will carry out sanitation drives daily. Parents should let children rest if unwell. As of now, the PMC has not communicated any instructions to us. But we are taking measures ourselves.”
► Frank R Freese, Principal, Bishop’s School, Camp
“We have issued instructions to all students and staff regarding care to be taken. Tomorrow, a team of doctors will visit all our hotels to conduct checkups of students. PMC has not yet communicated with us. In fact, after reading newspaper reports, I contacted PMC to discuss this. We are very cautious.”
‘Puneites, stay calm’
Mirror speaks to a doctor about dos and don’ts for the swine flu
|Dr Bharat Purandare
Physician at Jehangir and Deenanath Mangeshkar hospitals
With the temperature fluctuations that are witnessed in Pune, it is not not only children but people of all ages who should be a little alarmed at this point of time, with regard to the spread of swine flu. I am not asking for any sort of panic or hysteria. But the stark fact is that the climate here is perfect for swine influenza to grow and spread. Technically, the typical flu period starts in mid-September and ends in February, but with the constant temperature changes the city is experiencing cases and witnessing the growth of the influenza even in March.
I personally believe that the virus was always around, but was suppressed by seasonal influenza. Symptoms of swine influenza are similar to common cold but the former is a more severe form of the latter. In the common cold one feels more tired and uneasy compared to swine flu. It recently took over the seasonal strain and I believe temperature variations are to blame. Today, the scenario in Pune can attain an epidemic status as it has already crossed 40 cases. I doubt it will reach the level it attained in 2009, but it definitely has to be brought under control. I would request all Puneites to remain calm.
— As told to Anjali Shetty
• Cough etiquette is paramount: always carry a handkerchief or tissues and use while sneezing or coughing
• Do get yourselves tested in time: visiting a test centre will not increase your chances of contracting the disease as the virus is found in droplets of saliva of affected individuals and these cannot travel more than three feet
• Parents, be extra careful, children are more likely to fall prey to this virus: avoid sending them to school if unwell, as their immunity is still developing and they share a classroom with several other children
• Do wash your hands frequently, and pay attention to routine health and hygiene
• Don’t neglect any flu symptoms
• If you are feeling unwell, do not delay your visit to the doctor
• Don’t go to work if you are feeling queasy or uneasy
• Don’t go into crowded places if you are unwell
• Don’t disregard preventive measures like wearing masks
• Don’t panic or freak out
In 2009, India was not manufacturing medicine for swine flu, it was imported from the US. Now, India is producing a medicine named FLUVIR
Catch the symptoms
Category A: Critical. Sore throat, fever, breathlessness, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome. Should be hospitalised, throat swabs tested
Category B: High fever above 100 F for long, sore throat, running nose, diarrhoea. Throat swabs not needed
Category C: Mild fever, sore throat, cough, cold. Treatment for general flu. No swine flu meds, throat swab tests needed
Some Hospitals prepared to fight Swine Flu
• Sassoon Hospital
• YCM Hospital
• Ruby Hall
• K E M Hospital
• Bharati Hospital
• Sahyadri Hospital
• Noble Hospital
• Jahangir Hospital
Pune’s swab testing facilities
• National Institute of Virology (NIV)
• Super Religare laboratory, Deccan Gymkhana
• Dr Lal Path Laboratory, Bund Garden Road
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