Two swine flu cases were reported in the city on Monday. Both the patients are women. The condition of one, who recently visited Mumbai, is critical. They have been admitted to two private hospitals in the southern and eastern parts of the city.
The throat swab samples of both the patients tested H1N1 positive at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) at Beliaghata.
The disease has, so far, claimed 152 lives across the country this year. Most of the deaths have been reported from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana and Rajasthan.
“The condition of one of the patients, who recently visited Mumbai, is critical. The other woman, admitted to a private hospital along the EM Bypass, is stable,” a Swasthya Bhavan official said.
“The lack of availability of oseltamivir capsules, which are used to prevent H1N1 influenza, is a major worry. The crisis is such that private hospitals are getting emergency supplies of the drug from a Hyderabad-based company. We’ve written to the company requisitioning the medicine. We’re expecting the first consignment of 7,000 capsules and 100 bottles of syrup in a couple of days,” he added.
Last year, 18 cases of swine flu and one death were reported in Bengal. “We’ve alerted the districts and city private hospitals to inform the healthhea department if any patient shows swine flu-flulike symptoms,” the official said.
“We’ve also asked private hospitals to send the blood samples of swine flu suspects to the NICD laboratory. We’ve also asked them to make arrangements for setting up isolation wards, if needed,” the official added.
The Central Medical Store under the health department will also be asked to keep Oseltemavir tablets and N95 masks, caps and gloves needed by doctors and nurses to treat victims.
Experts said there was also a rise in the mortality rate seen this time, with deterioration in infected people being swift and patients dying within two days of the cases being reported. They also said anti-viral drugs, such as Tamiflu and Oseltamivir, seemed to have no effect.
With 81 deaths in Rajasthan, 71 in Gujarat, 30 in Telangana, six in Karnataka and a few from Maharashtra and Haryana, the air-borne virus looks set to wreak more damage.