Twenty six years old Danishta Idrees Khan a resident on Govandi was admitted to KEM hospital. She succumbed to suspected H1N1 virus after she stopped responding to treatment. The woman was also diagnosed with Leptospirosis and was undergoing treatment at MICU department. The KEM hospital management had declared her dead on July 13. H1N1 has so far claimed four lives in Mumbai and 191 in Maharashtra this year. Has the state government been unable to control the spread of H1N1 virus? Did the health department take adequate safety measures to control the spread of the disease? Every alternate year has seen an increase in the number of swine flu cases in monsoon. Last July, there were zero cases of swine flu.
Dr Hemant Deshmukh dean of KEM hospitals said, “She was treated in MICU ward for swine flu. She died on 13th July. Her reports for the leptospirosis ELISA test were also positive. We are in the process of confirming if she died of Swine Flu.”
Danishta was admitted to the hospital on July 8. She succumbed to the disease while undergoing treatment at KEM. She became the first casualty of the viral disease since the monsoon’s onset. A senior health official stated that the civic death review committee will probe the matter and report will be submitted within seven days. City physicians said that they also have been treating many cases of fever and respiratory infections. A south Mumbai doctor said, “Cases of dengue and malaria are also there but numbers are not as alarming as yet.”
A health official said, “Swine Flu cases are increasing but people should not panic. The situation is under control and we are keeping strict supervision. Since it is monsoon season people should take care of their health.”
The first two deaths from H1N1 virus were reported in March 2019 with the BMC confirming the demise of a 30 year old woman from Agripada and a 65 year old woman from Mazgaon in March. “She was a diabetic patient and suffering from co-morbidity including severe breathlessness which is medically termed as Acute Respiratory Down Syndrome (ARDS). As of now death is being suspected due to leptospirosis or H1N1. This will be confirmed after the epidemiology cell of the BMC vets the case and arrives at a conclusion on the actual cause of the death,” said a senior health official.
Atul Joshi a Kandivali resident said, “Cases of swine flu are increasing in the state. As a result of this, people are worried about their health. Citizens want the BMC to improve health care facilities in the city. They also need to take proper precaution and have vaccination to prevent themselves from H1N1.”
BMC’s executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar said that the woman’s death can be attributed to H1N1 or leptospirosis only after an investigation by death review committee. Just like the rest of the state Mumbai too began witnessing H1N1 cases since February when 39 confirmed cases were reported.
With rains causing a rise in respiratory infections, doctors caution that not just people with underlying health conditions but also healthy individuals must consider vaccination. An analysis of 188 deaths showed that more individuals without any associated diseases died due to H1N1 induced complications compared to those with co-morbid conditions like hypertension and diabetes.