11 H1N1 cases in a week, health officials on alert

Rise in the number of swine flu patients

A sudden rise in the number of swine flu patients in a week has put health authorities on an alert with doctors being advised not to rule out H1N1 virus infection among influenza related cases. Health authorities have registered 11 swine flu patients in a week. Three are on ventilator, while two are critical, health authorities said.

New infections are being reported from Bhosari, Kharadi, Nigdi, Kothrud and Lonikand. A 55-year-old woman from Lonikand who was admitted to Global Hospital at Rahatne Phate and a 30-year-old pregnant woman who had to undergo a premature delivery at Aditya Birla Hospital are on ventilator, Dr Vinayak More, district civil surgeon said. Dr S T Pardeshi, chief medical officer at PMC, said two patients were critical, however, surveillance measures have been stepped up and doctors have been told to check influenza patients for swine flu.

Doctors across hospitals admit there is an increase in the number of cases of viral pneumonia and a few are turning positive for H1N1 virus (swine flu). However, there is no reason to panic as sporadic cases will occur, said state surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate. On their part, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) is also conducting research at Janata Vasahat and other slums to estimate the viral disease load. This is being done with general practitioners, Awate said and hence there is a likelihood that more number of patients were being examined as part of the research project. NIV officials were however unavailable for comment.

"We are increasing our vigilance," said Dr Prachee Sathe, nodal officer for H1N1 virus infection and head of Ruby Hall Clinic ICU. There is no need to panic as medical fraternity anticipates some cases due to weather conditions. The clinical picture is mild and swine flu should be treated as any other flu, Dr Sharad Agharkhedkar, former president of the city unit of the Indian Medical Association said. Symptomatic treatment is important, he added.

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