Mumbai: A 62-year old Thane woman and a Vadodara girl succumbed to deadly swine flu virus taking the toll to ten. Shahida Abdul Aziz was admitted in Noor Hospital in Bhaikhala and A(H1N1) virus was detected in her body only after her death. While in Vadodara a girl fell prey to the deadly flu taking Gujarat’s toll to two.
With that Maharashtra’s swine flu toll has gone to seven. Pune has already has seen five deaths and the state capital also witnessed one death from the pandemic.
A 13-year-old Pune girl became the eighth victim of the deadly virus. Shruti Gawade, a student of Ahilyadevi school, became the sixth victim of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus in Maharashtra.
Shruti, a resident of Narayan Peth area, had been kept on ventilator since August 7 when she was brought here after being referred from a private hospital in a critical condition, said Dr Pandurang Pawar, Medical Superintendent of the government-owned Sasoon General Hospital.
Yesterday, a four-year-old boy in Chennai and two more persons from Pune - 35-year-old chemist Sanjay Tilekar and 35-year-old Ayurvedic practioner Babasahib Mane succumbed to the virus.
A total of 95 fresh cases -- half of them from Pune -- were reported across the country, yesterday taking the total of those affected across the country to 960.
Gujarat recorded its first flu fatality on Sunday when a 43-year-old NRI, who had come from the US, died due to the disease.
Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in New Delhi yesterday that the "The number of swine flu cases are rising. We have to work a little harder".
Azad, who has been directed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take urgent steps to check the spread of the virus, also said he did not favour closure of schools but left it to the state governments and schools concerned to take a call.
At a high-level meeting of senior Health Ministry officials yesterday, which was chaired by Azad and attended by Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekhar, it was decided to form teams of officials from other ministries to help state governments identify private hospitals which can be made nodal hospitals.
"As of now we have been corresponding with the state governments only through letters, but it now seems that this is not enough, so we have decided to send these teams comprising officials of additional secretary level to various states," he said.
"We have not asked any private hospital, as of now, to treat patients and none has refused us, but if it comes to that we would issue legal directives to them to follow certain norms," Azad said.
In Hyderabad, Misbun Sidek, coach of the Malaysian team participating in the World Badminton Championships, has displayed symptoms of swine flu and his samples have been sent for testing for Influenza A(H1N1) virus, organisers of the event said.
"Sidek complained of throat pain last evening. His samples have been sent for testing. We don`t want to take any chance. We are taking all precautions," Pullela Gopichand, director of the organising committee and Indian team coach, said.
Jammu has also recorded its first positive swine flu case after a girl from the city, who was studying in Pune and had come home for the summer break, tested positive for swine flu.
Another patient tested negative and reports of four others are awaited from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases. Three of the four patients who have been tested study in Pune and Bangalore. One is a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier who returned from leave from his home in Uttar Pradesh.
Haryana invokes Epidemic Act
The Haryana government has meanwhile decided to invoke the Epidemic Disease Act of 1897 to tackle swine flu, the third state to make use of the law after Delhi and Maharashtra.
Regulations of the Act would remain in force upto one year, an official spokesman said last night.
These regulations shall be called Haryana Epidemic Disease, A H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Regulations 2009, he said.
Under these regulations, it would be obligatory on the part of private hospitals to notify the government hospitals in their respective areas of any patient reporting swine flu-like symptoms.
Haryana has so far reported 38 positive cases of swine flu, out of which 27 have been discharged from various hospitals while 11 are still undergoing treatment.
Delhi was the first to invoke the Epidemic Disease Act to force an influential person to undergo testing and treatment for the disease, followed by Maharashtra where six persons have succumbed to swine flu.