At least 11 persons have died of swine flu at various hospitals in Hyderabad in the last 30 days, while over 150 people have tested positive for the H1N1 virus. Two doctors of Gandhi General Hospital and one from Osmania General Hospital have also tested positive to swine flu on Monday, triggering panic among the medical staff.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao on Wednesday morning called for a determined effort to tackle the spread of swine flu and has sought help from the Centre. Taking a serious view of the situation, KCR asked the state health department to initiate emergency measures to tackle swine flu.
KCR also briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation and has requested for Central medical teams to be sent to Hyderabad to bring it under control. “I have requested the PM to dispatch medical teams to help the state health officials. More medicines have also been requested,” KCR said. The Telangana CM held a meeting with Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma, Health Minister Dr T Rajaiah, and senior health officers on Wednesday morning. He is learnt to have pulled up health officials for showing laxity in tackling the spread of the deadly virus.
State Health Minister Dr T Rajaiah, a medical doctor, said that while there was no reason to panic yet, rigorous screening and testing of people admitted to hospitals has started. “The prolonged chilly weather has compounded the problem. There is no reason to panic but we have to be careful. One reason why are able to detect so many cases is because of the excellent virology lab we have in Hyderabad,’’ Dr Rajaiah said.
State Coordinating Officer for swine flu, Dr K Subhakar of the Fever and Chest Diseases Hospital, said that the prolonged cold weather in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh has increased the spread of H1N1 virus. “Once the temperature rises, the virus won’t be active and it will not spread as quickly as it is now,’’ Dr Subhakar said.
Officials are requesting people to wear nose masks when visiting hospitals and at public places. Dr Subhakar said that since January 1, 2015, 173 swine flu cases have been detected in Telangana and Andhra — 169 in Telangana and 4 in Andhra. Swine flu ward coordinator at Gandhi Hospital Dr G Narasimha said that nine of the 11 deaths occurred at the hospitals and the patients were already in a serious condition when they were brought in.