District officials in Mandya are on high alert after a 48-year-old resident of the district, suspected to have contracted swine flu, passed away on Wednesday.
Savithramma (48) visited a private nursing home in Mandya last week after developing a cough and fever. She was later admitted to JSS Hospital in Mysuru where she passed away. Doctors had sent a throat swab sample of the patient to Kasturba Hospital in Manipal to confirm whether she was suffering from H1N1, or swine flu, the results of which are awaited.
"We suspected that she had H1N1 and she was treated for 6 days after having shown some signs of respiratory distress. We found that she was suffering from bilateral pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is seen in many patients who present with swine flu. A throat swab was done as per protocol and was sent to Manipal for testing. She passed away on the seventh day of treatment but we have not received the report from Manipal confirming whether it is a case of swine flu or not," Dr Nagaraj, District Health Officer, Mandya told TNM.
Health officials in the district are currently also monitoring two other cases of suspected swine flu in KR Pet. "In these instances, however, they were treated and they have recovered. We are trying to determine if the patients have come to the district from elsewhere," stated the official.
“We have also distributed Tamiflu tablets to those who may have been exposed to the virus. They’ve been asked to take the medication for 10 days as a precaution,” added Nagaraj.
Furthermore, surveillance officers in the district have started scouting the region for other unreported, possible cases of swine flu and are taking all methods to ensure that it is contained.
Karnataka has been seeing an increase in the number of cases of swine flu over the past few weeks. As of Thursday, there are around 416 confirmed cases in the state. With 48 cases being reported from the city of Bengaluru alone.
H1N1, or swine flu, is caused by the influenza A virus. Pigs were found to be the primary host of the virus, giving rise to its common name ‘swine’ flu. The virus can be transmitted from an infected person to another individual through air droplets
A vaccine is available against the flu but is not given as part of the routine immunization programme, though it is recommended that those who are at risk or in frequent contact with H1N1 patients (such as doctors and other medical staff) are advised to take the vaccine as a precautionary measure.
Symptoms of swine flu include high fever, cough, cold, fever, sore throat, headache, nausea, and vomiting. People may also present with chills or extreme fatigue and muscle pain, known as myalgia. A throat swab and culture will determine whether a person is indeed suffering from swine flu.
Health authorities are recommending all people presenting with symptoms to be checked up at a hospital and that the general public take precautionary measures to protect themselves against the virus. People are urged to maintain proper personal hygiene and to wash their hands regularly.
With inputs from Prajwal Bhat