Manipur swine flu patient dies

Assam brakes on tests

By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 12.03.15
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PREVENTION BETTER THAN CURE

March 11: Manipur's first swine flu patient and another patient with symptoms of the virus, both women, died at a private hospital this morning. In Assam, chief minister Tarun Gogoi directed the state health and family welfare departments to work on a mission mode to contain the spread of the disease.

Manipur health minister Phungzathang Tonsing said after the deaths, "It is sad that a patient who tested positive for H1N1 died at a private hospital.

Another patient suspected of having swine flu also died at the same hospital."

The 35-year-woman from Imphal East who tested positive for swine flu was admitted to Shija Hospitals and Research Institute, Imphal, on February 27.

Her throat swab was sent to a Mumbai laboratory and the results came on March 6, confirming swine flu.

The other woman, 48, also from Imphal East, who was admitted to the hospital with suspected symptoms of swine flu on Friday night, died at 6.30am.

The test result of her throat swab sent to the Mumbai laboratory is yet to come.

"We did our best to save the patients. However, we could not save them and they passed away this morning," Kh. Palin, chairman-cum-managing director of Shija hospitals, said.

Students of JB College in Jorhat on Wednesday don swine flu masks following the outbreak. Picture by UB Photos

Health director Okram Ibomcha said the deaths could have been caused by delay in getting treatment for swine flu.

Palin said treatment for swine flu started immediately after the two women were admitted to the hospital, without waiting for test results.

Tonsing said three other suspected patients, two of whom were admitted to different hospitals, had fully recovered.

He said the state government would provide upto Rs 1.5 lakh to swine flu patients or their family.

Suresh Babu, principal secretary (health), said anti-swine flu vaccinations were given to the relatives of the patients who had tested positive.

Ibomcha said the health department was investigating the source of the swine flu that affected the patient who died today.

The Assam chief minister said though the disease had not taken the form of an epidemic in the state, the government would not take any chance and had instructed the health department to work on a mission mode to put its men and machinery to control the spread of swine flu.

AGP MLA Keshab Mahanta wanted to know during zero hour in the Assembly what steps the government was taking to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus.

In the absence of state health minister Nazrul Islam, parliamentary affairs minister Rakibul Hussain said the government was taking all necessary steps to contain the disease.

The Jorhat district administration, in a meeting, today directed private hospitals not to carry out any tests for swine flu as in Upper Assam the government had authorised the Regional Medical Research Centre (northeastern region) at Lahowal in Dibrugarh district to carry out such tests.

Jorhat deputy commissioner Solanki Vishal Vasant said the administration had launched an awareness campaign to prevent people from panicking and rushing to private hospitals and diagnostic centres.

"Not only are such tests costly but the hospital or the pathological laboratory needs to have the adequate infrastructure to prevent spread of the highly contagious disease or otherwise the flu will spread," the DC said.

The AJYCP today staged a protest in front of the DC's office, demanding that the district administration and the health department take urgent steps to prevent the flu, which was turning into an epidemic. The students' organisation submitted a memorandum to the health minister through the district administration.

D.C. Bhagabati, state surveillance officer for Integrated Disease Surveillance Project, told The Telegraph that a review with all districts was carried out today through video-conference, where stress was laid on "screening, ambulance service and proper treatment".

He said the districts have been instructed to be ready to admit patients affected by swine flu.