The death toll due to swine flu in Punjab rose to 17 from four in just about 10 days, raising concern among health officials.
Those who died because of the virus belonged to Muktsar, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Moga and Mansa. Notably, till January 20, H1N1 virus had claimed four lives in the state. “There are 17 deaths because of swine flu till now,” the state nodal officer for swine flu, Gagandeep Singh Grover, confirmed on Monday. Of the 124 samples collected, 33 have been tested positive, he added.
He said the department was concerned about why the patients were coming to
hospitals at the late stage. “If patients with swine flu symptoms come early, they can be treated. We have everything, such as sufficient Tamiflu tablets; but if they do not come to us, what can we do?”
He further added, “This time, we have made medicines available at community health centres and village level as against last year when these were provided at the district level.”
Health officials feel that people with symptoms of cough and cold or high fever are taking medicines without consulting doctors. When it gets out of control, they go to doctors but by then their condition has worsened, officials said.
All government hospitals have been directed to set up a separate ‘flu corner’ to treat patients with swine flu. An advisory had already been issued to government and private hospitals to provide immediate swine flu treatment to patients without conducting tests.
The test, which is free, is being conducted at Government Medical College, Amritsar and the PGIMER, Chandigarh, Grover said.
Meanwhile, in Haryana swine flu has claimed one life, according to Aprajita, the state surveillance officer, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.
The patient who died belonged to Hisar. So far eight persons have tested positive for swine flu out of 27 samples from across the state, she said.
In Chandigarh, there has been no casualty because of the H1N1 virus so far. “Out of 14 samples collected so far, only two were tested positive,” a health official said.