Punjab: Rise in swine flu cases, 38 found positive in 12 days
Swine flu is spreading its tentacles in Punjab with 38 of the 96 people found positive this season having surfaced in the last 12 days only.
The disease has claimed 17 lives in 13 districts where the cases were reported. Ludhiana and Mohali districts top the chart with maximum positive cases followed by Jalandhar district.
Ludhiana has witnessed 36 positive cases while Mohali has seen 19. Jalandhar has recorded 10 cases followed by Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala, the hometown of state health minister Brahm Mohindra, seven and six respectively.
Four people were found positive in Hoshiarpur and Rupnagar each.
In terms of toll, Ludhiana has the highest number of seven deaths, with Mohali and Patiala reporting two each.
Stunned by the sudden upsurge in cases, the health department claims to have made routine preparations by creating isolation wards, making medicines and masks available besides running sensitization programmes. But to deal with serious cases (C-category) that need urgent attention, facilities are yet to be improved in government hospitals.
Government hospitals in Kapurthala, SBS Nagar and Muktsar among others do not have life-saving ventilators and the health department is depending upon private health institutions and medical colleges in Faridkot, Patiala and Amritsar and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
Officials in the department said oseltamivir drug syrup that is administered on children affected by the disease is also not in stock and officials are yet to make adequate purchase orders.
They said samples of suspected Category-C pateints are being sent to an already-crowded PGIMER for confirmation of swine flu. In private hospitals, separate ventilators are necessary for such patients.
On Monday, all civil surgeons in the state were given directions to be prepared to tackle the disease in their districts. They were asked to get daily reports from private hospitals about admitted suspected H1N1 patients to assess the situation. Also, information about cases should be sent daily through mobile messaging system WhatsApp and email.
State health director Rajiv Bhalla said, “We have shortage of ventilators in hospitals. The department is in regular touch with private hospitals and medical colleges. In government hospitals, flu corners have been established so that patients having cough, cold or fever can immediately report there.”