Swine flu claims its 12th victim, 54-yr-old dies in DDU hospital

A 54-year-old woman, who was admitted at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in West Delhi, became the twelfth victim of swine flu in the city on Tuesday.

Doctors said the patient had died of respiratory complications associated with the disease.

Forty more cases of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, were diagnosed on Tuesday, taking the total number of patients diagnosed with the virus, since January 1, to 834.

Medical experts continue to blame the sporadic rains, and the subsequent temperature variations for the spurt in the virus this year.

A senior virologist from AIIMS said, "Every virus has a natural cycle of recurrence. In addition to this, weather conditions can become a trigger high humidity levels coupled with low temperatures help the virus grow and spread. Once the temperature rises, and humidity levels come down, the cases are likely to subside."

Unlike the last outbreaks in 2009-10 and 2010-11, this year, government officials continue to say there is no need for vaccination against the virus, except in the case of high risk group such as pregnant women and young children, or those diagnosed with co-morbid conditions like hypertension and diabetes.

Patients who are diagnosed with respiratory problems like asthma are also advised to take preventive vaccination, since respiratory complications like acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), where there is a shortage of oxygen in the blood stream and lungs, are associated with swine flu.

Government hospitals are still to procure any vaccines this year. At a meeting convened by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit recently, instructions were issued to hospitals to ensure continued operation of isolation wards and ICUs equipped with ventilator facilities.

Virologists from the central government, who have analysed the prevalent viral strains this year over the last two months, have found that besides the H1N1 virus, which is the most common, H3N2 and Influenza B strains are also doing the rounds.

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