Late diagnosis and delayed treatment have caused most of the swine-flu deaths in India, according to an analysis of 30 fatalities.
The study was done by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) along with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“In most of these cases, due to the delay in treatment, pneumonitis had already set in, resulting in lack of breathing capacity,” said Dr RK Srivastava, director general of health services, who was a part of the team that analysed the cases.
Late diagnosis was the other major cause of death among the affected people.
Thirty cases were chosen randomly from seven states for the analysis. It was found that most of the infected people who died had reported either on or after the fifth day of developing flu-like symptoms.
“The moment you develop flu-like symptoms, you should see your local physician and do as directed,” said Dr Shiv Lal, director, NCDC. “Let your doctor decide whether you need home quarantine or hospitalisation. Delay in treatment can be fatal.”
The study says breathlessness and cough — not fever — are the commonest symptoms of influenza H1N1.