Swine flu scare looms large over city now

Three swine flu cases were reported from Delhi and three more from other states are currently undergoing treatment at city hospitals.

With the city still reeling under the worst dengue outbreak, the state government is now planning to identify four more hospitals to treat swine flu cases to handle any outbreak. Several lapses surfaced during this season’s dengue outbreak.

“Currently, there are 26 hospitals, government and private put together, equipped to tackle swine flu cases. In addition to this, we are identifying four more hospitals. Last year, there was severe pressure on the infrastructure. We will need to have more number of beds than last year,” said an official of the Directorate of Health Services (DHS).

While three patients testing positive for the H1N1 virus at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), two patients are admitted at Sir Gangaram Hospital and one at Safdarjung Hospital.

However, the number of suspected swine flu cases may be higher. Patients with mild symptoms of the flu are not being tested for the flu, said a senior AIIMS doctor.

“Three patients tested positive from Delhi. They are however not admitted at the hospital,” said Dr Randeep Guleria, Head of the department, Pulmonary Medicine, AIIMS. Of the three, two are male and one female.

The 60-year-old male admitted at Safdarjung is critical. The outstation patient was referred from a private city hospital almost five days back, said Dr A K Rai, medical superintendent, Safdarjung Hospital.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has one 32-year-old male from Jharkhand and one 68-year-old patient from Chhattisgarh admitted at the hospital.

“Both the patients were referred to us on October 2. They are currently in the ICU (intensive care unit),” said the hospital spokesperson.

The Delhi government is chalking out plans to handle swine flu cases. The city government has decided to turn the existing 55 fever clinics into flu clinics from the beginning of November.

“This is to create the first line of contact so that patients suffering from mild symptoms do not flood the superspeciality hospitals. During the dengue outbreak, there was panic among people. This time we have to boost the awareness level from an early stage,” said a senior official of the Health Department.

Proactive
The Health Department will now be proactive in dissemination information on the disease through advertisements, the official said. The clinics will, however, not have facilities for testing H1N1 virus.

In a review meeting with hospital superintendents, the government is also planning to increase designated beds and ventilators for swine flu patients.

The government has also fixed the ceiling price for swine flu test at Rs 4,500, the same as last season, for private laboratories and hospitals.

 The hospitals have also been given instructions to admit only patients of Category C or those suffering from severe symptoms of the flu.

The symptoms include drowsiness, lack of appetite, noisy breathing and in-drawing of ribcage, running nose and fever.

According to experts, it is necessary to maintain high hygiene standards during this season.

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