After sparing Mumbai for over 50 days, the H1N1 virus on Friday claimed another life.
A 54-year-old Mira Road resident succumbed to swine flu-related complications, taking the city’s H1N1 death toll to 31. Since May, over 1,450 have tested positive for swine flu.
The latest victim, Rihana Sheikh, had been suffering from mild fever, sore throat and other flu-like symptoms on November 3 but took treatment from a private doctor and did not report to a hospital till her condition became critical.
She was admitted at Lifecare Hospital in Mira Road for two days. She was transferred to Nair Hospital on November 14 after she developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (breathing failure).
“She was already in a critical state and was put on ventilator immediately. Her throat swab was collected for swine flu testing only after she was admitted to Nair Hospital,” said BMC’s Executive Health Officer, Dr Jairaj Thanekar.
No deaths had been reported in Mumbai since October 1 when a Nashik resident and a five-year-old HIV-positive boy from Ratnagiri died at city civic hospitals. Of the 31 swine flu deaths so far, 16 were residents of Mumbai and the rest were from the periphery region —Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
He added that Sheikh was obese and therefore more vulnerable. Pregnant women, children and those with chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes and hypertension are considered “high-risk” patients as they are more prone to complications.
The news of Sheikh’s critical condition and that of 12 patients testing positive for swine flu on Tuesday had sparked fear of a second wave but the number dropped to the usual two to three cases a day.
Civic officials had clarified that 10 of the 12 patients were from outside Mumbai.
Dr Thanekar reiterated that there was no indication of a second wave of swine flu. “It is too early to know whether a second wave is starting but experts are checking on it,” he said.
Infectious disease specialist Dr Om Shrivastava said the virus had reached a plateau in Mumbai.
“States like Rajasthan and Kerala are already seeing a spurt in the number of people affected by H1N1. A second wave will come in Mumbai, too, but one can’t predict when that will happen,” he said.