A pregnant woman from Dharavi, a man from Mankhurd and a young woman from Malvani succumbed to H1N1 infection in a week taking the toll in Mumbai to 16 so far this year. Confirming that the pregnant woman’s death on June 13 was caused by acute respiratory distress syndrome and H1N1 infection, civic officials surveyed 500 houses and 2,614 people living in the neighbourhood slum to identify similar cases of fever.
Across Mumbai this year, 353 cases of H1N1 infection have been recorded by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of which 68 were patients from outside Mumbai.
The 24-year-old pregnant woman started developing fever, cough and throat pain after June 8. Three days later her family admitted her in Sion hospital. She was administered Tamiflu treatment but succumbed to H1N1 pneumonia two days later on June 13.
In the past week, at least 92 cases of the infectious disease have been recorded across public and private hospitals. Since January until June 15, the city had recorded 107 H1N1 cases. Several doctors claim the ICU wards are full of H1N1 or fever patients.
The second deceased was a 45-year-old man who also passed away on June 13. He started coughing blood and got breathless after June 8. Eight days later, he succumbed to the infection despite hospitalisation. The third patient was a Malvani resident who had been admitted to a Navi Mumbai hospital and later shifted to the BMC hospital when her condition turned critical . On June 15, she succumbed to acute respiratory distress syndrome.
The city has also recorded 95 malaria cases, 201 gastroenteritis infections, two leptospirosis and a dengue infection in the last one week. “Mumbai saw a dry spell after few days of rain. Such weather conditions become conducive for the virus to multiply. We anticipate a further rise in viral infections in the coming days,” said Dr Minni Khetarpal, deputy executive health officer at BMC. Rain and waterlogging followed by a dry spell helps the vectors like mosquitoes – the vector for diseases like dengue and malaria – to breed. “With constant rains, the water gets washed away preventing mosquito breeding,” Khetarpal added.
Maharashtra, like Kerala, is witnessing a spurt in H1N1. The civic body has initiated a drive to vaccinate pregnant women, who come under high risk category, against the viral disease.
Random tests to detect Zika cases
With the threat of Zika virus running high, Kasturba hospital’s diagnostic centre will now start randomly testing at least 20 fever cases each week to detect any Zika virus. The move comes after three Zika positive cases were tested in Ahmedabad between 2016 and 2017.
Across India, 23 such centres will test pregnant women and fever cases randomly to detect the virus. “We have already procured CDC trioplex kits. We will test for Chikungunya, Zika and dengue in neonatals with birth defect and pregnant women,” said Dr Jayanthi Shastri, head of microbiology at Nair hospital.
These samples will be cross checked with the National Institute of Virology in Pune.
Dr Amita Jain, microbiologist with King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, said that Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is conducting the detection drive. “The Zika transmission is similar to dengue, has same vector and similar symptoms. India becomes an ideal country for Zika to spread due to conducive environment it already provides to dengue. The vector is commonly found across the country,” she said.