Though Mumbai saw another H1N1 death on Tuesday — a seven-month-old infant died at private hospital — panic seems to have eased its grip on the city.
As Mumbai got back on track, the Maharashtra government sent reassuring text messages to Mumbaiites on how swine flu was curable, a day before schools reopened. The SMS advises people to seek medical help if they have symptoms and included the numbers of the state’s swine flu helpline.
The latest casualty took the death toll in the city to three, though the Centre said there were no H1N1-related deaths for the second consecutive day on Tuesday. “Modia Mohammad Shaikh was a resident of Byculla. She died on Tuesday,” Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said, confirming that the child’s throat swab had tested positive for H1N1 at the Haffkine Institute. Civic authorities had supplied Tamiflu to Noor Hospital in Byculla, where she was being treated.
Health officials said innovative efforts have helped reduce panic and large crowds at testing centres. “In the last few days, the crowds at testing centres have reduced and the credit goes to methods that have popularised the helpline,” said Dr Pradip Awate, an official from the state health department.
The state has reached out to over five crore mobile subscribers across Maharashtra between August 15 and 17, said Prajakta Lavangare Verma, director general of publicity, Maharashtra. “We sent out two messages — one that had contact numbers of the helpline and other was a social appeal to reduce public panic saying swine flu is curable,” she said.