A 70-year-old Nanded resident, who underwent a kidney transplant a few years ago and was on immunity-suppressing medicines, has been detected with swine flu or H1N1 infection. He was brought to the Jaslok hospital at Peddar Road last Wednesday, after he complained of breathlessness. He has now been put on ventilator support.
The patient was admitted to the acute care unit (isolation facility) of the hospital on Monday evening, when he tested positive for the infection.
The doctors, meanwhile, had a tough time searching for Oseltamivir or Tamiflu medication used to treat patients with H1N1. The Kasturba Hospital in Chinchpokli, which is a state-identified centre for treating H1N1 patients, too, did not have the medicine. “We gave the patient Tamiflu syrup, which is meant for children, as no public hospital had the drugs. The chemists, too, did not have the stock,” said a doctor from Jaslok Hospital.
The authorities are now worried about the doctors and nurses who came in contact with the patient since Monday. “We have identified around 25 staff members who came in contact with the patient, when he was initially admitted to the intensive care unit. We are trying to get the drug from the open market to administer a prophylaxis dose to our staff,” said Dr Tarang Gianchandani, CEO of the hospital.
Prophylaxis is a treatment given to those people who are at a higher risk of contracting a disease. Many chemists HT spoke to said there is no demand for Tamiflu and hence not they don’t stock it.
Dr Mangala Gomare, chief of epidemiology cell of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), health department, said the state has asked the civic body to make an emergency purchase of the drugs. “The patient has been put on Oseltamivir medication. We are in the process of buying more medicines,” said Gomare.
The state health department said the Centre has not provided them with Tamiflu drugs this year. “Very few patients require Tamiflu and hence all hospitals are asked to buy it locally. There are no clear guidelines on prophylaxis from the Central government. It is left to the doctor’s discretion. We don’t want the drug to be used indiscriminately,” said Dr Satish Pawar, director, directorate of health services, state health department.