The death of Loni Kand resident Pratima Pramod Shukla, 43, has been registered as the first death due to swine flu in the city. Shukla was admitted to Ruby Hall Clinic after being treated at a local hospital. She was tested positive for H1N1 infection on June 5, and on the same day that she was put on ventilator support.
According to officials of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)'s health department, delay in treatment was one of the reasons for the worsening of her condition. "The patient's symptoms such as fever, dry cough, among others, started on May 26. But it wasn't until June 2 that she was admitted to a hospital in Wagholi. It was only after her condition became severe, she was referred to a private hospital in Pune," said a civic official.
According to Dr ST Pardeshi, the medical officer at PMC, so far, nine cases of swine flu have been reported by city hospitals to PMC. However, in most of the cases, the patients are residents living outside Pune. Though the disease is now endemic to Pune, we would request doctors to be on alert and sent all suspected patients for screening," he said.
Meanwhile, experts at National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune said that there is no reason to press the panic button.
"We were sent about 1,000 throat swab samples so far, but the H1N1 infection rate is barely 0.5%, which means that it is barely there. This is the reason why there is no reason to panic at all," said senior scientist Mandeep Chadha, deputy director of NIV.
In fact, in June last year, the infection rate was barely 1.1%, but by July it had touched 13%, which meant of the total suspected H1N1 patients, 13% tested positive. "So far, the infection rate has been low. But monsoon has just begun. So, now in the coming months we will see; but as of now, there is no reason for worry," she said.
Meanwhile, state surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate said that this is the ninth H1N1 death in the state till now. "So far, the deaths have been reported from Nagpur, Nashik and two-tier cities of Maharashtra. However, the numbers are not high enough for us to get worried," said Awate.