PM tells Azad to take stock

82 new cases reported, five-member Central team rushed to Pune

 
At the afternoon meeting, Singh asked Azad to disseminate information about the disease to the public through a panel of doctors and coordinate with the states for better management of the spread of the virus, which has now assumed near-contagious proportions. A five-member Central team is now in Pune, one of the places worst hit by swine flu in the country.

On Sunday, 82 new H1N1 cases were reported pushing up the number of positive cases to 864. The toll went up to four, the most recent being that of Pravin Patel, a 42-year-old Non-Resident Indian in Ahmedabad. Patel travelled from Atlanta, reaching Mumbai on July 31, 2009, and proceeded to Ahmedabad.  He was admitted to Sanjeevani Hospital on August 6 with symptoms of fever, weakness and breathlessness.

Besides having anaemia and respiratory distress, Patel’s chest X-ray showed signs of pneumonitis, too. On August 7, he was transferred to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital where he died in the early hours of Sunday.

A few hours earlier, 42-year-old Pune teacher Sanjay Kokare succumbed to the disease.
After showing swine flu-like symptoms from August 1, Kokare took treatment in a local hospital for a few days. He was admitted to Sassoon Hospital on August 7 with body ache, sore throat and breathlessness.

The Pune teacher was administered Tamilfu the same day and put on a ventilator the  next day. But his condition deteriorated and he died on Sunday. In the wake of Rida’s death on August 3, as many as 249 people tested positive for H1N1 flu. On Sunday, 82 were found positive with maximum concentration in Pune (34), Delhi (13), Mumbai (12) and Chennai (7).

While all the 34 cases in Pune are indigenous cases—mostly school and social contacts of earlier positive cases with no travel history—11 out of 12 cases in Mumbai are indigenous. In Delhi, 12 out of 13 cases are contact cases. Six patients are still in Pune’s Sassoon Hospital, out of which the condition of three are critical.

A Central team is now stationed in Pune to monitor the situation. Besides Pune, Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, where the H1N1 virus is known to have spread, it appears to be spreading in Chennai also. The southern metro reported seven indigenous cases on Sunday.

Far-flung areas like Vadodara, Sirsa (Haryana), Kozhikode, Thrissur (Kerala), Goa, Gurgaon and Hyderabad also reported H1N1 cases on Sunday. The issue figured in the Cabinet when the prime minister asked Azad to coordinate with the states. Singh is understood to have directed the Union health secretary to be in regular touch with state health secretaries and take coordinated action to contain further spread of the disease.

The condition of two 35-year-old patients admitted to Sassoon Hospital in Pune and a 28-year-old man put on ventilator at L H Hiranandani Hospital in Mumbai is stated to be critical. Several schools in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai as well as all education institutions in Pune and Pimpri have been closed as a precautionary measure. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said his government was considering a proposal to allow private hospitals to treat swine flu patients.

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