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Swine flu takes 703 lives across India, Bengal catching up with three deaths

2/21/2015 2:12:05 PM

By Soumitra Nandi

Swine flu death toll in the country reached 703 with 40 more deaths reported in the country on Friday. The virus continued to spread its tentacles to new states including Mizoram with the number of affected persons crossing the 11,000 mark. 

Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth chaired a high-level meeting during which he asked the states to ensure setting up of necessary helplines and round-the-clock functioning of outbreak monitoring cells. The Ministry has also asked states to study patterns in mortality such as which areas, age groups and section of people have been most affected, in addition to deaths due to co-morbid conditions.
Meanwhile, death toll in Bengal rose to 3 with an eight year old child dying of the disease at BC Roy Hospital in Beliaghata on Friday. 11 fresh cases of  H1N1  infection were detected in the last 24 hours in West Bengal.

The boy’s death took the toll in the state to three while the total number of people infected by it went up to 58, said Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), Moloy Dey. "The boy, who was admitted in a critical condition seven days back at state-owned BC Roy Hospital, died early this morning. He stopped responding to treatment and was put on ventilation," Dey said. 

One of the two children, among the 11 new cases of H1N1-infection, was "critical" and was admitted to the BC Roy Hospital on Friday. He has been put on ventilator. Doctors are keeping a close watch on his health condition, said, a senior health official."Most of these fresh cases are reported from the city while two or three are from the North 24 Parganas district,” he added. 

"There is no scarcity of medicine for swine flu in the state and we are prepared to face any situation. There is nothing to panic about," said another health official. 

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said on Thursday that the State is fully prepared to tackle the situation arising out of the spread of swine flu virus. She said the State Government has arranged for isolation beds and adequate medicines for the patients.

Attributing the spread of swine flu to mosquito bites, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that the influenza was not a cause for concern in the State.

 “Swine flu is caused by mosquito bites and various other reasons. Although I can’t stop a disease from occurring, I can make sure that it is controlled,” she said.

Swine flu is a seasonal virus and spreads through an infected person’s cough or sneeze. The West Bengal government has created a ward at BC Roy Hospital specially meant for swine flu patients.

Twenty new swine flu cases were recorded in various hospitals in Mumbai yesterday, including one from outside the city. This has taken the total number of swine flu patients in Mumbai to 244, including 182 residents of the city. There has been 11deaths in Mumbai due to H1N1.
The BMC-run Kasturba Hospital has slashed its Swine Flu testing prices to Rs. 2500 from Rs. 4000 earlier. The body has also requested the private laboratories to reduce their costs. 

The medicine for H1N1 cure is available only with specific chemists in the city. "For an adult, 1 capsule of Oseltamivir (Tamilflu) of 75mg should be taken twice a day for five days after the disease is detected. Each capsule costs around Rs 35-Rs 40," said Dr Pradeep Awate, epidemiologist with the state health department.

(With inputs from Asim Khan in Mumbai)


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