First swine flu fatality in India, Pune teen dies

  • Yogesh Joshi and Sanchita Sharma, Hindustan Times, Pune/New Delhi
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  • Updated: Aug 04, 2009 02:23 IST

Swine flu claimed its first victim in India when a 14-year-old girl died of H1N1 infection at Pune’s Jahangir Hospital on Monday.

Seven more people — two in Delhi, three in Pune and one each in Chennai and Ahmedabad — tested positive for swine flu, taking India’s tally to 558 in the 79 days since the first case was reported in the country. Of these, 470 have recovered.

Jahangir Hospital did not give the name of the victim. Sources said her name was Ria Shaikh and she was from Pune.

She developed a sore throat, runny nose, headache and fever on July 21, but she went to a private doctor. He treated her for a cold and fever, and she returned to school on July 23.

The teenager again developed fever on July 25, for which she went to another private doctor. Since the fever did not respond to treatment, she was admitted to a private nursing home in Pune on July 27.

Her condition worsened and she was shifted to ICU and put on a ventilator on July 29.

“It is very unfortunate, she was brought for testing and treatment two weeks after she got infected,” said Vineet Chawdhry, joint secretary, ministry of health.

“They kept going to private doctors and her lung aspirate was finally sent to Pune’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) for testing on July 31, where she tested positive for swine flu. By then, it was too late.”

The girl did not respond to the anti-flu drug oseltamivir and died of multi-organ failure.
“This underlines the fact that people should go to a public health facility at once,” said Chawdhry.

“She had come in contact with 40 students who travelled to NASA in the US, and though she had not travelled herself, she got the infection from them.”

The Maharashtra government has assigned two Pune hospitals — Naidu Hospital and Yashwantrao Hospital — to treat swine flu patients.

It was not clear why Jahangir Hospital did not shift the girl to one of these hospitals despite the NIV confirming swine flu two days ago.


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