Health authorities urge caution after swine flu claims two livesWith two reported deaths and early signs of possible outbreak in the western town of Waling, Syangja, health authorities fear that swine-flu (Influenza ‘A’ H1N1) could hit major urban centres including the Capital.
With two reported deaths and early signs of possible outbreak in the western town of Waling, Syangja, health authorities fear that swine-flu (Influenza ‘A’ H1N1) could hit major urban centres including the Capital.
This is primarily because the current epicentre of Waling is situated right on
the busy Siddhartha Highway that links Bhairahawa with Pokhara.
“A high mobility of people from the affected areas into the Valley poses a severe risk of transmission of the influenza virus,” said Dr Guna Nidhi Sharma of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, Teku.
The EDCD, a government body tasked with responding to public health emergencies, has confirmed that the case is “an outbreak of an influenza-like illness”.
Doctors from the EDCD and the Regional Health Directorate, who have been deployed to take the situation under control, are collecting throat swabs and blood samples for laboratory test.
In the past one week, two deaths have been attributed to the H1N1 influenza.
A 45-year old patient from Syangja died at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu and a 29-year old patient of Pokhara died at the Grande International Hospital. Both the cases were being treated for severe pneumonia, after being referred from hospitals outside the Valley.
Doctors said there is an increase in cases of severe pneumonia while patients are being treated in intensive care unit. “Patients are found to be ignoring early signs of severe pneumonia.
They arrive late so even with sophisticated care we struggle to save some lives,” said Dr Subash Acharya, chief of the ICU unit at the TU Teaching Hospital. The number of patients referred from hospitals outside the Valley is high.
Experts said people with chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, cardiac disease, pregnant women, and children under two are vulnerable to swine flu.
Flu-like cases are advised to be consulted with physicians. For others, experts suggest quick medical aid and ample rest.
Since 2009, at least 30 people have succumbed to the disease in Nepal. The A H1N1 pdm 09 strain of influenza found in Nepal is the same that caused a global pandemic in 2009, killing more than 18,000 people worldwide.
Other cases of flu outbreaks in the country are suspected to have spread due to a mutant strain of the disease yet unknown.