Pune: After a lull
of six months, swine flu has again reared its head in Maharashtra,
claiming four lives in Pune in the past fortnight, including two
Friday, putting the state health machinery in a state of high
alert, a top official said.
Besides, the four fatalities, another 34 victims are admitted in
different city hospitals.
"The condition of at least five people is critical and they have
been put on ventilator. We can only hope that there are no fresh
cases or casualties," Pradip Awate, head of Integrated Disease
Surveillance in the State Surveillance Office, which monitors
swine flu in Maharashtra, told IANS Saturday.
In the past 11 months, the number of casualties has touched seven
- one in Nashik in May 2011, followed by two in Kolhapur in
September 2011 and four, including three women in Pune in March
2012, Awate said.
Following the sudden spurt in swine flu in the past two months,
the entire state health machinery has been geared up to face any
eventuality, he added.
The extended winter in early February in the state, the
intermittent sharp disturbances during the winter to summer
transition phase, and declining immunity among the masses are
reasons for the recent rise in swine flu cases.
Since the disease is considered at peak in the winter months, the
health authorities are hopeful that it will decline from early or
"If not, then we are prepared to tackle it even during the monsoon
and post-monsoon months," a grim Awate assured.
The first death of swine flu in India occurred Aug 3, 2009, when
the disease claimed Rhia Shaikh, a 14-year old schoolgirl.
In the past four years, the districts of Pune, Satara, Nashik and
Mumbai city have been among the worst hit by the swine flu virus,
notching the maximum number of casualties.