60-year-old man, pregnant woman lose battle for life.
At least three deaths have taken place in the past 24 hours due to the H1N1 influenza at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences here, with experts signaling spike in the cases amid government’s failure to make the testing and isolation facilities for such patients operational.
A source said that a female patient who had tested positive for the H1N1 influenza died at SKIMS on Tuesday morning. The woman, 24, was pregnant. She hailed from peripheries of Srinagar and was supported on a ventilator for two days.
“We tried hard to save her and her eight-month fetus when her condition deteriorated, but could not,” said a doctor on the condition of anonymity.
Earlier on Monday, another male patient, aged around 60 years, who was brought to the SKIMS Casualty, lost his life to the influenza, a doctor said. His test reports, he said, had shown that he was H1N1 positive. “We received his test report after his death,” the doctor said.
He said that the patient was brought to the hospital in a critical condition and had to be resuscitated. “He was also suffering from myeloma (blood cancer),” the doctor said.
Medical superintendent SKIMS Dr S Amin Tabish confirmed the death of the pregnant woman and her fetus. “Yes, unfortunately, the female H1N1 patient admitted with us died this morning,” he said.
He however said: “The myeloma patient died within hours of being brought to the hospital. He died of acute respiratory distress syndrome. But I am not aware that he was H1N1 positive.”
He said that there have been three cases of H1N1 positive patients admitted in SKIMS in the past 15 days. “Earlier, we had a female patient who was discharged when she got well. And now we have had a man dying on Sunday and a woman and her unborn child dying on Tuesday,” he said.
On Monday, a 45-year old man from Budgam had died of the H1N1 influenza at the SKIMS.
A senior doctor at general specialty SMHS hospital said that cases of influenza have been seen to increase in the recent past. “We have had around 10 influenza patients in the recent past. We had a female patient who was critical but she thankfully survived,” a senior physician said.
However, the GMC administration denied having any influenza positive cases.
Although the government has allocated over Rs five crore to GMC Srinagar in 2015 to equip its hospitals with high-end H1N1 influenza testing facility, doctors say only rapid kit test facility was available. “We do not have facility to confirm which strain of influenza it is, but we know, through our microbiology lab, that the patients are influenza A positive,” a doctor said.
State Health department had issued H1N1 influenza advisory in August this year, as the number of cases swell, but no steps are being taken to educate masses about precautions and vaccination and prepare the hospitals for a “likely spike” of such patients.
State surveillance officer, Dr SM Kadri said that an advisory would be issued “in a couple of days”.
A source said that hospitals had still not prepared a plan to handle H1N1 influenza situation that health experts have predicted might shape-up this year in Kashmir.