BHUBANESWAR: The deadly H1N1 continued to spread its tentacles as three more persons fell to the viral flu in the State on Friday. The deaths were reported from SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack, Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), Burla and Kalinga Hospital in Bhubaneswar.
A 32-year-old man from Bargarh, with chronic chest infection, was admitted to VIMSAR where he died on Friday morning. A 58-year-old woman of Burla died at city-based Kalinga Hospital. The third victim was a 51-year-old man from Jagatsinghpur, who succumbed at SCB Medical College. All the three had reported acute respiratory distress. With three new deaths, the swine flu toll has risen to seven in the State. All the deaths have been reported in the last one week.
As many as 12 new cases were reported on the day. The Health department had sent 30 nasal swab samples to Regional Medical Research Centre for investigation. So far, 96 H1N1 positive cases have been reported, of which, 89 have been recorded in the last 10 days.
What experts say
Experts say people with cold, prolonged fever, chest pain, body-ache and weakness must consult doctors and seek treatment. If treatment is started within 36 to 48 hours, the recovery process starts which minimises the transmission. In a number of cases, people, who had been vaccinated in 2009, when the worst global outbreak of H1N1 was reported, were found to have taken fresh vaccines. Once taken, the vaccine provides long term protection unless the virus strain has mutated. “Currently, there is no report of any fresh strain appearing whereas all existing vaccines give protection against the Michigan strain. But even doctors engaged in management of H1N1 in hospitals are taking a repeat dose of the vaccine which is really unnecessary,” said the sources
Basic information lacking
Even as the rising incidence led to a sense of panic among the public, the Health and Family Welfare department launched an awareness campaign on the day. The campaign, which came in form of two TV spots of 22 seconds each, were virtually non-visible as those were aired during prime time news instead of being telecast during the whole day.
None of the spots had any basic information about treatment and vaccination nor did they address basic apprehensions about the flu, thereby failing to make any impact. As publicity wing of the Health department cut a sorry figure, there was too much confusion among the public. A number of people were seen carrying blood samples to RMRC, an ICMR arm, for investigation although the institute investigates only the samples sent by government and private hospitals. “People have no clue that only nasal swab samples are tested for H1N1 and only in Grade-3, (severe) cases of influenza are sent for investigation,” said sources.