VIJAYAWADA: With temperatures dipping, swine flu seems to have made a comeback in the State. A 32-year-old woman from Chittoor district died of swine flu while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Vellore in neighbouring Tamil Nadu while a 26-year-old woman tested positive for the dreaded viral disease in Visakhapatnam in the last 24 hours. Officials have initiated isolation of the families of the victims and a vaccination drive has been launched in the areas.
The 32-year-old victim from Airala mandal in Chittoor district was suspected to have contracted the H1N1 virus from her husband, who recently returned from a visit to Kerala. She was admitted to a hospital in Vellore on Monday after undergoing treatment at a hospital in Chittoor where she had tested positive for H1N1. She breathed her last soon after her treatment began Tuesday.
In Visakhapatnam, DM&HO J Sarojini confirmed that the 26-year-old patient was admitted with symptoms of swine flu last week and tested positive on Monday. She is now undergoing treatment in a private hospital. “Her family members were also tested and given treatment to avoid the spread of the disease. One positive swine flu case was reported in November 2015. There were no cases in 2016,” she informed.
In 2016, 11 patients from AP were diagnosed with swine flu. Three of them died. The other eight were treated in private hospitals in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad.
Against this backdrop, it is pertinent to note that only two isolation wards are available in government hospitals across the State — at the King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam and Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) in Tirupati — to treat swine flu patients.
The State does not even have enough number of testing kits. The health department had in fact ‘initiated steps’ to set up district-wise swine flu testing facilities and isolation wards in every district hospital right from 2015. But till now, only two isolation wards and testing centers have materialised.
The State does not have a facility for swine flu virology test and all samples have to be sent to the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Hyderabad. The government general hospitals in Vijayawada and Guntur have sent repeated proposals to the health department seeking supply of swine flu test kits. “We have asked the department officials for test kits in November last. As there is a constant shortage, the officials failed to supply them. They assured supply within a week or two,” said M Jaganmohan,
Superintendent of GGH Vijayawada. As of now, Visakhapatnam has stock to cater to about 200-500 patients. “Within a week, three districts will receive the test kits,” clarified V Subbarao, Director of Medical Education.