KOLKATA: The city’s first confirmed case of swine flu of 2018 was reported on Saturday after a software engineer tested positive for the H1N1 influenza virus. His minor child is being treated for suspected swine flu.
The man is admitted in Fortis Hospital and his child is in Apollo. Authorities at Fortis told on Sunday, “We have come across the first swine flu case this year. Timely intervention has been done and the patient is doing well.” Though relatives said the child, too, had tested positive for the H1N1 virus late on Saturday — hours after she was admitted with high fever — Apollo Hospital authorities said they were awaiting final reports and the child was being treated for suspected swine flu.
Media is withholding the names of the patients on request, even as doctors in the two hospitals agreed that the swine flu outbreak should be made known in public interest and for spreading awareness.
The techie was admitted to hospital with high fever, lung congestion and body ache. Hours after he tested positive for swine flu, his child developed high temperature and was advised immediate hospitalisation by the family paediatrician. “The father was already down with swine flu and we were told not to take chances. So we got the child admitted immediately,” a relative said.
The Bengal government is yet to notify an H1N1 alert since the detections have taken place over the weekend. But some doctors have already started cautioning their patients, referring to standard WHO guidelines, telling them that a vast majority of people could be vulnerable to H1N1, which spreads easily from person to person.
Patients doing well due to early diagnosis
The techie’s wife, who is shuttling between the two hospitals, attending to her child and husband, said: “We were told that this is probably the first swine flu case in the city this year.” “I wish both could be admitted in the same hospital for the sake of convenience,” she said.
Doctors said due to early diagnosis, the patients were doing well. Tamiflu has been administered to both, they added. Doctors have told the patients’ family that H1N1 is air-borne, but there must have been a hidden source from where the father initially contracted the virus, which later probably spread to the child. Both have been quarantined to ensure the virus doesn’t spread. The mother is attending to the child wearing masks and taking other necessary precautions.
In both father and child, the common symptoms of H1N1 — high fever, cough and severe body ache — were present. Reports on the respective cases will be sent to the health department when Swasthya Bhavan opens on Monday; it is mandatory for every hospital to share with the health department details of patients suffering from swine flu. Subsequently, all government and district hospitals will be put on H1N1 alert, a health department official said.
“We came across one case of H1N1 this year, probably in January or February. After that we haven’t had any swine flu case reported to us. There has been an organized surveillance throughout the year resulting in such negligible cases,” said Dr Ajay Chakraborty, director of health services.
Since the first case of swine flu was reported in 2009, the virus has resurfaced from time to time in the city. According to WHO guidelines, swine flu is now in its post-pandemic stage and needs to be treated like any seasonal flu. India saw its most crippling outbreak in 2009-10 when the virus affected around 50,000 people and claimed more than 2,700 lives across the country.