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Maharashtra: As swine flu cases rise, panel from Delhi checks why

A panel of experts from Delhi’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is visiting hospitals in the state to ensure guidelines to treat the infection are being followed correctly

mumbai Updated: Jun 30, 2017 09:52 IST
Sadaguru Pandit

The rising swine flu deaths in Maharashtra has put the government on alert.

A panel of experts from Delhi’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is visiting hospitals and health care centres in the state to ensure the guidelines to treat the infection are being followed correctly.

One of the main reasons for more deaths is the delay in starting the treatment. The NCDC experts have now asked municipal health representatives to inform private hospitals and general physicians to make sure patients showing symptoms (in box) are treated quickly.

“The team was dispatched, after state officials said they needed help to contain the infection and form guidelines, if necessary. We will help the officials overcome challenges they face while treating swine flu patients,” said Dr A C Dhariwal, the director of NCDC.

READ: Swine flu threat growing big in India this year, killed 525

More than 7,581 cases of fever have been reported across the state, and of these, 1520 have tested positive for swine flu.

The state’s vaccination programme has so far reached 30,462 people who are in the high-risk category — these include pregnant women, children and the elderly.

“We have been asked to communicate to doctors in both private and public hospitals to make sure treatment for swine flu is started immediately, if a patient shows classic symptoms such as high fever and breathlessness for more than 24 hours. There is no need to hospitalise or wait for test results,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, the executive health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

In a meeting with top health officials and health minister Dr Deepak Sawant, NCDC officials submitted their findings about swine flu and leptospirosis, another monsoon ailment.

The team has analysed monsoon illnesses in Pune, Thane and Mumbai and will visit officials of other districts over the next two days. Dr Keskar said, “People with swine flu-like symptoms should not visit crowded public places. To control the spread of infection, patients should avoid going to work,” said Dr Keskar.

Thane: More swine flu cases among women

In Thane, more women are getting swine flu than men, data from the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) shows.

Of nine swine flu deaths in Thane this year, eight were of women, one of whom was pregnant.

Further, of the 135 people getting treated for swine flu, 74 were women.

The onset of the monsoon has led to more cases of swine flu — 105 of the 135 cases detected were in the month of June.

On Thursday, a team of health officers from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) visited private and public hospitals, and the homes of those who died of the infection to find out why it is spreading in Thane, said Ram Kendre, the TMC’s health officer.

“There was just one case of swine flu reported in March and one in April. But in May, we had 24 cases being reported and this number shot up to 105 in June,” Kendre said.

“Of the nine deaths in this region, seven were residents of Thane, while the other two are from Raigad and Dombivli,” he said.

Children too are at risk. Ten children between three and five years have been affected.

TMC data also found that more cases were being reported by people living in better-off localities.

“We have been getting cases from Waghbbil, Kolbad, Laxmi Park, Srirang Society, Parsik Nagar, Vasant Vihar, Hirananddani Estate, Ghodbunder, Kopri, Rutu Enclave, Highland Residency, Raheja Garden and Teen Hath Naka,” Kendre

said.

Ashok Kumar Singh, an NCDC member, said, “We had come to study the swine flu situation in Mumbai and Pune, but decided to visit Thane too as more cases were being reported from the city.”

Singh said, “We will give our report to the Centre. Meanwhile,people can protect themselves by wearing masks, at least in crowded areas.”