H1N1 Claims Two Lives in Bangalore

The H1N1 virus has claimed two lives in April, and hospitals across the city have reported 10 other cases.

Published: 01st May 2014 08:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st May 2014 08:31 AM   |  A+A-

The H1N1 virus has claimed two lives in April, and hospitals across the city have reported 10 other cases.

Laxman (40) from Banikuppe in Ramanagaram district is the first reported fatality in Bangalore this year.

Most patients live on the outskirts of the city and seek treatment at Bangalore hospitals. The virus, which spread in 2009, claimed 17,000 lives in just a year. In 2010, the World Health Organisation said the pandemic was over and the incidence of swine flu had returned to a seasonal pattern.

“Laxman had developed high fever and cold and when his condition worsened, his family brought him to Rajarajeshwari Medical College Hospital in Bangalore,” said Raju B C, a member of Janaarogya Andolana, an NGO. The doctors then referred Laxman to the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), where he died two weeks ago.

The doctors tested Laxman’s family and friends and found one of his friends infected. “Since he was diagnosed early, his life was saved. We are now getting his family tested too,” said Raju.

RGICD confirmed the virus was spreading. “This month, 34 patients were screened for the virus, and six tested positive,” said Dr Shashidhar Buggi, medical director.

The number wasn’t alarming at the beginning of the year. “We screened 23 people in January and 19 in February, and not even one tested positive. We had one positive case in March, but the number has risen in April,” Buggi said.

A private hospital has reported two cases over the last three months.

“The patient who died had come to our hospital at an advanced stage,” said a hospital representative. 

The Health Department said it had received information about the deaths and was taking the necessary precautions.

“We have alerted hospitals across the state about various contagious diseases. We have advised them to keep beds, medicines and quarantine rooms ready,” said Geetha Nyamagoudar, health director.

What is H1N1?

It is a viral infection caused by influenza A, and a respiratory illness. The symptoms include high fever, cold and cough, besides flu-like symptoms leading to pneumonia. It is a swine-origin virus that caused an epidemic in 2009. 

Who is at risk?

Patients who are low on immunity, especially those who are asthmatic or diabetic, should be on guard. Obese individuals and pregnant women should be extra-careful.

When do you contact a doctor?

If a patient doesn’t respond to treatment even after three days, a test should be conducted.


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