Two women from Mumbai—a 30-year old from Agripada and a 65-year old from Mazgaon—succumbed to H1N1 virus last month as per information shared by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). BMC's executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar said the two deaths were confirmed during the death committee review meeting held this month.
While the 65-year old woman, who was also suffering from diabetes, breathed her last after over a week of hospitalisation, the 30-year old lady spent over 10 days in the hospital. While these make for the first two deaths due to swine flu virus in the city, according to official estimates, Maharashtra has recorded 1,346 positive cases of H1N1 and 120 deaths so far in the past four months alone.
Although there is a vaccination against swine flu, not everyone is aware about it and that is one reason for the high number of positive cases. While the year started on a good note with not a single case reported in the month of January, there were 40 cases of swine flu caused by the H1N1 virus in February, 80 in March and 14 such cases in April.
More than eight lakh patients were screened for the H1N1 virus in the past four months. Of them, about 15,500 patients suspected to be carriers of the virus were given Oseltamivir—the drug known to work against the virus. About 1,000 patients completed the treatment and successfully fought Type A influenza virus, which causes the respiratory disease whose initial symptoms include nasal congestion, sore throat, diarrhea, cough, fever, chills, vomiting, body ache and high grade fever.
Apart from the rising number of swine flu cases, the BMC officials are also looking into the latest report of a measles outbreak in central Mumbai after at least 40 fresh cases were reported from areas where people refused to get their children vaccinated in the recently concluded vaccination drive. "We are investigating a measles outbreak in the city and have realised that none of the people who are diagnosed with measles have taken the vaccination against the disease,” said a senior official from the BMC’s health department.
The presence of the virus will be confirmed after tests by the National Institute of Virology (NIV).
Measles is an infectious disease and can affect the others who have not yet been diagnosed with it. BMC has begun a survey in 500 households in the areas where fresh cases of measles have been reported. "We are finding it difficult to convince parents that vaccination against measles is completely safe and actually mandatory for good health of their children."
In November 2018, the BMC started a campaign to vaccinate 25 lakh children between the age of nine months and 15 years against measles and rubella. However, the coverage was only partial.