Home India News Two more die, swine flu toll rises to four in India

Two more die, swine flu toll rises to four in India


Pune/Ahmedabad : A 42-year-old school teacher from a village near Pune and a 43-year-old non-resident Indian (NRI) man who had flown from the US to Ahmedabad died of swine flu Sunday, taking the death toll from the raging virus in India to four.

Authorities in Maharashtra and Gujarat — which account for all four deaths — were on high alert after the latest fatalities as Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit called an emergency meeting in the capital.

Teacher Sanjay Kokare died in Pune’s Sassoon Hospital at around 1 a.m. He is the third swine flu victim in Maharashtra, Pradeep Awate, head of Maharashtra’s Swine Flu Control Room, told IANS.

Kokare had been admitted initially to a hospital in Khedegaon village near Pune July 31, said Ashok Ladda, additional director of the family welfare department.

“He improved and was at home for two days. But his condition deteriorated and he was taken to a private hospital in Pune. He was shifted to Sassoon Hospital two days back and was on ventilator. He did not revive,” Ladda said.

Pravin Patel, a resident of Atlanta in the US, died of Influenza A (H1NI) at the civil hospital in Gujarat’s main city Ahmedabad Sunday. He and his wife had tested positive for swine flu Saturday, a week after arriving in India.

“This is the first swine flu death in Ahmedabad. The patient had other complications as well. He had viral pneumonia, which is very difficult to treat. His haemoglobin was low. All these added to the complications of swine flu,” Gujarat Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas told IANS.

Patel was brought to the hospital with a respiratory tract infection and was under ventilation Aug 5-7. He was taken off the ventilator for a few hours Aug 8 after his condition improved. But his condition deteriorated again.

Patel’s wife, whose name is not available, is in critical condition.

Reeda Shaikh, a 14-year-old student, was India’s first swine flu victim. She died in Pune. On Saturday, housemaker Fahmida Paanwala, 53, succumbed to her infection in Mumbai’s Kasturba Hospital.

Authorities are closely monitoring the condition of three others – a medico and a pharmacist, who are in critical condition in Pune, and a 28-year-old businessman who is in critical condition in a Mumbai hospital.

There are 13 positive cases of swine flu in Ahmedabad. The blood samples of another 53 patients are under examination across Gujarat.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has convened an early meeting of officials and experts as a high level team of the National Centre for Disease Control, earlier known as the National Institute of Communicable Disease, left for Pune, the worst hit city, to study the situation.

Pune is in the grip of panic as thousands besiege government hospitals to get themselves checked and to take the Tamiflu medicines – if needed.

In New Delhi, the Sanskriti School, a private institution, said it was closing for a week after two of its students tested positive for swine flu Saturday.

India has reported a total of 783 cases including four deaths. Of this, over 500 patients have been cured. The most badly hit states are Delhi and Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, experts and health officials came out against moves to sell Tamiflu medicines in the open market, warning it could lead to panic buying, hoarding and even spurious sale of the anti-influenza medicine.

Randeep Guleria, head of medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, said: “I don’t think it will be a good move. Also, overuse would develop resistance to Tamiflu and it would no longer be effective in the long run.”

Mexico, the first country to report swine flu, found that many people have developed resistance to Tamiflu.

Guleria added: “The epidemic is here to stay for some time.”