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As Cyclone Gaja keeps officials busy, swine flu death toll varies

The swine flu cases in districts such as Chennai, Madurai, and Tirunelveli have come down and there are still cases being reported from Salem, Coimbatore and Tirupur.

Published: 24th November 2018 01:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th November 2018 09:05 AM   |  A+A-

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Image used for representational purpose only (File photo | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Lack of coordination time among the Health department officials at different levels, as most of them have been diverted to cyclone-affected districts, is the reason for difference in the figures of swine flu deaths in the State, say officials. The official figures, submitted by the Health department to the Union Health Ministry recently, show that till November 11, 13 people succumbed to swine flu in the State. 

Meanwhile, the figures shared by the State Directorate of Public Health to Express on November 18 show that the death toll due to the infection is 22. Whereas the official figures submitted to the Madras High Court recently show 27 deaths.

When asked about the differences in the death toll figures, Director of Public Health Dr K Kolandaswamy said, “There is no mismatch of figures. As on date, the death toll is 27. We don’t have resources to analyse the deaths as most of them are diverted to the cyclone-affected districts. Lack of time between us at different levels is the reason.”

READ | Swine Flu outbreak in Tamil Nadu: Three more die in Coimbatore, toll at 55

“The Public Health Department is functioning on action-oriented issues. We are continuously taking measures to monitor the cases. Fever is one of the primary symptoms for most of the diseases including cancer. So, we can’t declare every fever case as swine flu. The authorised officials should analyse the cause of death and declare it. For the time being, we are held up.  Death toll will keep changing every time after the analysis,” said Dr Kolandaswamy.

He also said the final figures would emerge only at the end of January or February and it is a routine. The swine flu cases in districts such as Chennai, Madurai, and Tirunelveli have come down and there are still cases being reported from Salem, Coimbatore and Tirupur. According to the data submitted by the Health department to the Union Health Minister, till November 11, 1,386 cases and 13 swine flu deaths were reported. 

Last year, 17 swine flu deaths and 3,315 cases were reported. There was a surge in the dengue and swine flu cases in the State from October, forcing the Health department officials to take steps to contain the spread of the infection. As fever cases were increasing, the Institute of Child Health, Egmore (ICH) and the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital had to extend their bed capacity in fever wards.


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