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Rs 1 cr to fight H1N1 surge

State allots funds to up ICU numbers; ministers, health officials meet to take stock of situation as toll rises to 7
 
As the city struggles with a swine flu surge, the state government has asked the local administration to increase the number of intensive care units (ICUs) in government hospitals and allotted Rs 1 crore for the purpose.


Testing times: People await their turn to be screened for swine flu at
Naidu Hospital yesterday


The H1N1 virus has so far claimed seven lives across the district, with the latest death occurring yesterday.
"A 64-year-old person, Vilas Sardesai, succumbed to his illness at Aditya Birla Hospital on Thursday morning," said Dr Ashok Pathak of the Aditya Birla Hospital.

A meeting attended by Cooperation Minister Harshavardhan Patil, Health Minister Suresh Shetty, District Civil Surgeon Dr Vinayak More, Superintendent of Sassoon General Hospital Dr Ajay Chandanwale, MLAs from the district and public health directors and secretaries was held yesterday to review the H1N1 situation.

"We will be installing six more ventilators at Infosys building of Sassoon hospital for the swine flu patients," said Dr D G Kulkarni, Sassoon superintendent.


Swine flu vaccines and medicines at a chemist store in Hadapsar.
Pics/Krunal Gosavi and Ishan Ghosh


People in the city are getting panicky as the number of H1N1 positive cases are rising every passing day. More and more patients are flocking to screening centres across the city to get tested.

So far, the number of H1N1 positive cases detected in the district is 135. Six of these people are on ventilator and 46 in isolation wards, while 76 have been discharged after treatment.

The total number of patients screened since April 1, 2011, is 3,23,407 with more than 17,000 people screened this month alone. Yesterday, 1,360 people were screened, of which 19 were found positive and 73 were suspected of having contracted the H1N1 virus.

"People are so scared that they sometimes force us to prescribe them Tamiflu or to get them hospitalised," said a doctor from Naidu Hospital.

Vijay Changedia, secretary of Chemists Association of Pune District, said demand for masks and vaccines was going up.

"The demand for vaccines and masks has increased three times in the last fortnight. People are more aware and cautious this time in comparison to 2009," said Changedia.

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