A 51-year-old woman from Ghaziabad, who died in Sir Ganga Ram hospital on December 24, has become the first suspected victim of H1N1 virus this year. Delhi government authorities sent the woman’s samples to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday to confirm the diagnosis before notifying it as an H1N1 death.
Sources said the woman was admitted to the Delhi hospital on December 21, after being referred from Columbia Asia hospital in Gurgaon.
A source at Sir Ganga Ram hospital said, “At the time of admission, she was critical. She had lung failure and was on high-frequency ventilator support. Her diagnosis at Ghaziabad and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital confirmed a case of swine flu.”
Sources said the woman, a resident of East Model Town in Ghaziabad, was first treated at Yashoda Hospital in Ghaziabad before being shifted to Columbia Asia. Her records showed that she had several health conditions besides the virus infection. “She had hyperthyroid and a history of hypertension, conditions which are known to aggravate H1N1 symptoms,” a Health department official said.
With 32 confirmed cases of H1N1 in the capital this year, Delhi government authorities maintained that there was no “outbreak”.
“The woman’s diagnosis has not been confirmed. We have spoken to microbiologists in NCDC. Her the samples will be sent to the Central lab on Saturday. So far no death from H1N1 has been recorded from any of the government identified labs or hospitals,” Dr Charan Singh, nodal officer for swine flu under the Delhi government, said.
In 2013, the Delhi government had identified eight laboratories for diagnosis and 22 hospitals for H1N1 treatment. “According to new WHO guidelines, the H1N1 strain this year is manageable. Treatment protocols are the same as routine flu,” Dr Singh said.
So far, no guidelines or notifications for H1N1 treatment have been issued. Isolation wards at Central government hospitals were used for Ebola.
“The H1N1 virus is mild and non-virulent this year. Public health experts are monitoring the situation and hospitals are fully prepared,” Delhi health secretary SCL Das told Newsline. Das said sufficient stock of Tamiflu was being maintained by the Central Procurement Agency in the Directorate of Health Services.
Doctors at government hospitals said though Tamiflu stock had been exhausted, H1N1 patients were being managed with “other medicines”. Dr S Ramji, medical superintendent of LN hospital, said, “As long as we are maintaining an isolation ward, any patient can be admitted.”