The H1N1 virus struck twice in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, claiming two more life in Mumbai over the past week, has made medical experts to sound an alert and not dismiss it as one of those ailments of the rainy season.
Suman Kamble (44) was a healthcare worker, posted at Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) in Nerul. Chief health officer of NMMC Dr Ramesh Nikam said, “It is very unfortunate that this is the second death due to H1N1 in Navi Mumbai this year, and the fact that she was one of our staffers makes it worse.” He added that Kamble was diagnosed as H1N1 positive on July 28 and had been on antiviral treatment. She died on Wednesday afternoon.
On the same day, Vinay Talewar (19) who was suffering from pneumonia also passed away at the Kasturba Hospital Chinchpokli. Doctors suspect his condition was undiagnosed for ten days. He weighed a mere 35kg.
Families of both the victims have already been screened. Nikam said Kamble was survived by her bank employee husband and a son. “Both have been given the antiviral as a preventive measure. A carpenter who had recently worked at their house has also been given the medicine,” he said.
Till the showers began, experts and researchers thought the H1N1 influenza, loosely referred to as swine flu, had run its course and will now continue to circulate as seasonal virus. But cases started pouring in as rains started and increased from 35 in June to 151 in July, an increase of 300%. In the first few days of August, 21 people have already tested positive. An expert from Kasturba Hospital said that people from almost every age group are getting the infection, though it is slightly higher among the working population for obvious reasons.
NIV director Dr A C Mishra called it a behavioural pattern of the virus and nothing more. “Any influenza peaks in monsoon and dies down gradually. So far, there have been no mutations or any change that could explain the incidence this year,” he said. Dr Om Srivastava, an Infectious diseases consultant with Jaslok Hospital, said it is time for citizens to become alert but not panic. “We are surely better equipped now to diagnose as well as treat,” he said......
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