The Capital has reported 60 cases of influenza A H1N1 (swine flu) so far this year, taking the figure to a two-year high. Only 4 cases of swine flu were reported in the past two years.
Three people have already succumbed to the disease this year in Delhi, of which two died this month. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital reported two deaths and the third was reported from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Only one death had been reported in the corresponding period in 2011.
Though Delhi health minister AK Walia confirmed the spread of virus, he said there was nothing to worry as it was “just like another seasonal viral infection”.
“There is no reason to worry. We have issued advisory to our hospitals and labs to stay prepared. All designated hospitals will have a ventilator and ICU beds on standby only for swine flu cases,” he assured.
In a stock-taking meeting on Thursday, Walia met medical superintendents of designated government and private hospitals and senior officers from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).
The meeting was attended by the secretary (health) and director (health services).
The minister directed all hospitals to have nodal officers for H1N1 so that patients receive immediate attention.
He instructed health officials to reiterate guidelines for treatment and management of H1N1 cases on its website so that all hospitals, nursing homes and doctors could follow the procedure and to launch public awareness campaigns.
Walia said testing for H1N1 cases is being done at NICD, AIIMS and Patel Chest Institute. In addition, five private laboratories also have these facilities.
According to doctors, symptoms of high grade fever, respiratory problem, chest pain and blood in sputum must not be ignored.
“If you have the symptoms, report to the hospitals within first 48 hours. Only in cases of delay do complications develop,” said Walia.
Those vulnerable to the disease include diabetic patients, those with chest and lung disease, pregnant women and children.
Doctors said people must maintain high standards of personal hygiene to prevent the disease.