Swine flu has reached Chandigarh. The city’s first-ever swine flu patient is a 39-year-old woman, who resides in Sector 42. She is now stable. The case was reported to the health authorities on Tuesday by Max Hospital, whereas the woman was admitted on January 2 after she complained of high fever and shivering. Following improvement in her condition, she has since been discharged and is at home.
As a precaution, the Health Department has alerted all city hospitals. Talking to Newsline on Wednesday, the woman, who is a corporate trainer, said, “On January 1, I had high-grade fever and shivering. The next day, I was admitted in the Max Hospital. After my condition improved, the doctors discharged me.”
A throat swab of the patient was taken on January 3 and sent to Mumbai for testing. The results came on January 5 and revealed that she had tested positive for swine flu.
“I got a call, I was informed by the doctors that my lab reports have come out to be positive for H1N1 swine flu virus. They asked if I wanted to get admitted again. I refused, as I am fine,” the patient said.
Said Director of Health Services Dr V K Gagneja, “I got a letter from Max Hospital on Tuesday evening, they informed that the lab reports of one patient had come out to be positive for swine flu. They also informed that the patient was stable and was at her home.”
A team of doctors from the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16 visited the women the same day. “They gave medicine to me, my mother-in-law and my 15-year-old son. They asked me to take the medicine for 12 days and that I should not go out for a couple of days,” said the patient.
The DHS has alerted all city hospitals. “We have a separate isolation ward and have all materials required to deal with a pandemic like situation. Our rapid response teams are there and doctors have been sensitised,” said the DHS.
Dr G Dewan, Deputy Medical Superintendent of GMSH-16, said, “All arrangements have been made at the hospital. We have a separate OPD-cum-screening ward, apart from this we have arranged a separate 20-bedded ward on the sixth floor. A similar screening ward has been set up in the Civil Block Hospital at Manimajra and another will be set up in the Civil Hospital in Sector 22”.
The H1N1 influenza virus attack is more likely in winter months and its symptoms include fever with abrupt onset, chills, sore throat, non-productive cough, often accompanied by headache, coryza, myalgia and prostration.
The virus spreads from one person to another via droplet infection through cough, sneeze and touch.
Elderly people, children, and people with low immunity like diabetics, cancer patients, those with kidney problems and pregnant women are more prone to get the infection.
Precautions include frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill persons or their environment. Whenever possible, avoid crowded enclosed spaces and close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections. Ill persons should be encouraged to practise cough etiquette, which is maintaining distance, covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and washing hands.
The Health Department has set up a helpline, number 7837318503, to anwers queries regarding swine flu. Dr Dewan said samples of those reporting with symptoms of swine flu will be taken in GMSH-16, and sent for screening to PGI and Delhi-based laboratories. The woman has tested positive for “pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009”, which is a virus that was first identified as a cause of infection in humans in 2009. It originated from animal (swine) influenza viruses and is unrelated to the human seasonal H1N1 viruses. Antibodies to the seasonal H1N1 virus do not protect against the pandemic H1N1 virus.