Swine flu spread beyond western India on Monday, with the virus claiming its first casualty in Tamil Nadu. Two more people succumbed to the disease in Pune, Maharashtra, taking the national death toll to seven.
In Chennai, a four-and-a-half-year-old boy died of the H1N1 virus while his brother (11) tested positive for the infection.
Sanjay Balakumar, an upper kindergarten student in South Chennai’s Velacherry suburb, had been admitted to Dr. Mehta’s Multi-specialty Hospital two days back following a renal disorder.
“Sanjay’s death cannot be attributed to the swine-flu virus alone. He died of a multiple-organ failure,” S. Ilango, Director of Public Health, Tamil Nadu, told Hindustan Times.
In Pune, the government directed all schools, colleges
and coaching classes to shut for a week.
This followed two more deaths in the city on Monday.
At 7.20 am, Ayurveda doctor Babasaheb Mane (36), passed away. “For the last three days, he was on life support,” said Sassoon Hospital Dean Arun Jamkar.
Doctors said Mane could have contracted the virus through his patients or through foreigners whom he was in touch with while running his non-governmental organisation.
Sanjay Tilekar (35), a chemist, passed away in the evening. “He was on a ventilator for the last three days and was improving. However, he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at 8.05 pm,” said Pandurang Pawar, Sassoon Hospital’s medical superintendent.
Tilekar was Pune’s fourth swine flu fatality.
Tamil Nadu Minister M. Karunanidhi said a meeting of doctors and health department officials would be held on Tuesday to evolve a strategy to control the disease. “We will consider closure of affected schools.”
Ahmedabad will have dedicated out-patient-departments to counter the virus in civil hospitals. Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said the state has adequate stock of Tamiflu.
Manipur’s Health Minister Ph Parijat said the government had sounded a swine flu alert at healthcare centres in the state.
The state’s veterinary and animal husbandry department has already imposed a ban on importing pigs from Myanmar.
Andhra Pradesh is considering making health check-ups mandatory in schools, Health Minister Danam Nagender said.
All passengers arriving at the Hyderabad international airport are being screened. So far, 2.8 lakh passengers have been screened and 74 cases of swine flu detected.