The threat of Swine Flu which remained under the lid for last several weeks has finally been exposed in both Kashmir and Jammu regions with a large number of people testing positive for the H1N1 virus. Doctors revealed that four persons have died in the state including two at SKIMS hospital in Srinagar. A pregnant woman, Arshada Bano wife of Bashir Ahmad of Budgam died due to the flu but she managed to deliver her baby girl, who is doing fine. Another patient who was admitted with symptoms of Swine Flu and died was identified as Manzoor Ahmad of Tral who was also brought to the hospital in critical condition.
SKIMS in Srinagar has created an isolation ward for Swine Flu patients to prevent the infection from spreading to other patients, and their attendants. Also the hospital has shifted the respiratory disease OPD outside the hospital as more than 5000 patients who come to the OPD could be exposed if someone had swine flu. Hospital authorities tell that the situation is serious on the Swine Flu front as number of people testing positive has reached over hundred, and the number is on the rise. Some doctors have also tested positive as they got infected from the patients, and the government in order to prevent the spread of this viral disease has extended the winter vacation in the valley.
The medical fraternity in Kashmir Valley has criticised the health department for failing to create awareness, and capacity building to meet the threat caused by this infection. Neither the people were made aware about the threat of swine flu neither the district, and state hospitals have created special isolated wards to check the spread of this infection, it is being alleged. The doctors are also worried over the fact whether medicines, and vaccines required to fight the flu have been stocked or not by the health department.
There is also the need for more laboratories to be involved in testing of this virus, say doctors, and till date the figures have been concealed which could be dangerous for the health of the people. Doctors tell that children below five years of age are in high risk, and those suffering from respiratory diseases should also take precautions.
Meanwhile the threat of swine flu is looming large on Jammu as well, and the region has reported it’s first death due to the virus. Health officials said that more than 20 persons have tested positive for the Swine Flu virus, and the count is likely to increase further.
In Jammu it was revealed that a senior police official lost his life due to the swine flu which was contracted just five days earlier. The official was admitted to the Acharya Shri Chandra College of Medical Sciences in Sidhra where he lost the battle to the dreaded virus in just five days. The main problem in Jammu is that the facilities for lab testing are very few, and the samples of suspected patients have to be sent to Delhi for confirmation which is a time consuming process.