A 15-year-old girl who was diagnosed with swine flu died on Monday, taking the death toll due to the H1N1 virus to four in the national capital.
This is the fourth confirmed death due to the virus since January 1. Another death, reported from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on Tuesday, is also suspected to be caused due to complications arising from H1N1.
The girl, who is the first minor to succumb to the illness this season, was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on February 3. Hospital authorities said the girl died of acute respiratory distress syndrome — a severe respiratory disorder commonly associated with the virus. The girl was on ventilator support and doctors said they had tried to contain her symptoms for over a week.
The Delhi government said the situation is being monitored closely and virologists had identified three strains of seasonal flu including H1N1, H3N2 and Influenza B.
The Union Health ministry, meanwhile, said there is no pressing need for vaccinations.
Delhi Health Minister Dr A K Walia said virologists had identified the specific strains of the disease in the capital and confirmed that H1N1 was the most prevalent.
“Laboratory analysis found three strains of the seasonal flu, of which H1N1 or swine flu was the most common, but two other strains of common virals were also present,” Walia said.
To take stock of the situation, Walia chaired a high-level meeting of medical superintendents of all government and private hospitals. The meeting was also attended by officials from National Center for Disease Control and Dr P Ravindran, Director of Emergency Medical Relief (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare).
“The government is monitoring the situation closely, including preparedness, availability of beds and medicine in isolation wards, ICUs and diagnostic facilities. We have identified 17 government and five private hospitals for treatment and three government and five private diagnostic laboratories to manage cases,” Walia said.
Ravindran said there was no need for vaccinations against H1N1 at present. “No prophylactic treatment is required in most of the cases in the existing situation. Only high-risk cases, such as people above 65 years of age with multiple diseases, need prophylactic treatment,” he said.
He added that even hospitalisation was unnecessary for patients exhibiting symptoms of influenza, but that such patients need to be watched closely and require regular follow-ups.
Meanwhile, Sanjeev Choubey (42), who was admitted at RML Hospital on February 9, died on Tuesday due to what officials suspect could be H1N1-related complications. Choubey, a resident of Khoda Colony, was referred to RML by a private hospital in Noida. He was kept in an isolation ward with eight other patients.
According to the Health department, 33 new cases of H1N1 were reported on Tuesday, taking the total to 154 since January 1 this year.
Officials hope that with the rise in temperature and lowering of humidity, the number of cases in Delhi would decline.