A day after the National Centre for Disease Control said the H1N1 virus is “freely moving in Pune’s air”, five succumbed to the virus while six continued to remain “very critical” at Sassoon Hospital.
Nashik reported its first swine death — a 28-year-old medical officer. The number of swine flu deaths in Maharashtra now stands at 13, of which 10 are from Pune.
Twenty-nine people tested positive for the flu in Pune, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 323.
But what’s more alarming is that health authorities are reportedly running out of the buffer stock of Tamiflu, the anti-viral drug.
At midnight on Tuesday, Sanjay Mistry (35) died after being on life support for two days. Early on Wednesday, Kothrud homemaker Shrawani Deshpande (29), who developed pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, also succumbed at Sassoon.
Later in the day, Babu Kulanj (41) of Bahuli village, Neeta Meghani (50) from Kalyani Nagar and Gautam Shelar (48) from Phursungi died at Sassoon. All five had swine flu.
Medical officer Dr Rupesh Gangurde (28) died of swine flu in Nashik. He was admitted to a private hospital on Monday but was shifted to a civil hospital.
Swine flu also reached Nagpur after a software engineer couple and an engineering student, who returned home from Pune, tested positive.
Satara District Collector Vikas Deshmukh appealed to people to not visit Mahabaleshwar, a hill station 220 km from Mumbai.
While Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said there is “no reason to worry”, Pune District Collector Chandrakant Dalvi said: “The way the situation is changing, we have to accept that it is alarming. Instead of formally announcing the Pandemic Level 6, we have already taken most of the measures that are implied under Level 6.”
But the district health authorities are worried that the fresh stock of Tamiflu, that they had requested the Centre to send on August 2, has not yet arrived.
“There is not much to worry about on an immediate basis. But we don’t want to take any chances,” said a source, requesting anonymity.
State’s Joint Director for Public Health Dr Pandit Chavan said: “We have no stock because we have distributed 1.5 lakh Tamiflu tablets to hospitals in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and sent 50,000 tablets to Mumbai. We are expecting the stock from Centre soon.”
But Pune’s guardian minister Ajit Pawar insisted that there was enough stock. He, however, chose not to comment when asked about the buffer stock.
A source said a special plane carrying the stock was at the Delhi airport till Wednesday evening, but there was no information when it would reach Pune.