Twenty-seven-year-old Naziya Admane, from Alibaug, succumbed to swine flu-related complications at Sion Hospital last Friday. This is the first swine flu-related death reported in Mumbai since last November and is a disturbing reminder of the fact that the H1N1 virus is still in circulation.
“She was eight months pregnant so she was more vulnerable. She was brought to Mumbai in a critical condition,” said Dr G.T. Ambe, BMC’s executive health officer.
On an average, H1N1 continues to kill one person a day in Maharashtra, mostly in Pune and its neighbouring districts.
In May, 20 people have died of swine flu, while in April, 30 deaths were reported and in March there were 47.
The death of Admane, who was eight months pregnant, took Maharashtra’s H1N1 death toll to 465 since the virus first hit the country in May 2009.
She was transferred from a private hospital in Alibaug to the civic-run Sion Hospital last Thursday. “We put her on a ventilator and started treatment immediately but she died within 24 hours,” said Dr Sandhya Kamath, dean of Sion Hospital. The baby did not survive.
“High humidity, over crowding and various other environmental factors contribute to the spread of infectious diseases, particularly H1N1,” said Dr Om Srivastav, an infectious disease specialist with Kasturba Hospital.
Viruses usually slow down or stop spreading in the summer but experts are not surprised that H1N1 cases and deaths were still being reported in Maharashtra.
Of the 32 deaths reported in Mumbai hospitals so far, 16 were of Mumbaiites and the rest were from neighbouring areas.
“H1N1 is behaving like a typical respiratory virus. The activity of viruses increases during the post- monsoon and winter period but they stay in circulation through the year,” said Dr Abhay Choudhary, director of Haffkine Institute in Parel.
Some experts have predicted a resurgence of swine flu after monsoon but others say we should take all forecasts with a pinch of salt.