Nagpur: The number of swine flu patients in the city is rising alarmingly with each passing day. The number of positive patients has increased to 98 this year, out of which 16 were recorded in the last 19 days.
To add to it, as per central government guidelines, only critical swine flu patients should be hospitalized and rest have been advised to stay at home in isolation, even though they could pass on the flu to others. If the trend continues, in the coming days there may be difficulty in accommodating even critical patients in hospitals.
The government has classified flu cases into category A (who can stay at home, but must avoid contact with family members due to high risk factor), category B (who may need Oseltamivir dosage at home), and category C (who may have symptoms like breathlessness, fall in blood pressure, chest drop etc and should be hospitalized).
Intensivist Dr Ranjan Barokar of Aditya Hospital said, “All category C patients are being hospitalized and kept in isolation, so that the infection doesn’t spread. The patients from other two categories are sent back home. They are all ultimately carriers of the swine flu virus, and those who are exposed to them are at risk.”
Citing a recent example, Barokar said, “A women who recently delivered a baby had come to me with upper respiratory tract infection and was then detected with swine flu. But since she belonged to category A and her symptoms weren’t as critical, we sent her home. We advised her to stay in isolation and keep herself away from the baby for about 10 days.”
However, not all patients are careful enough to take proper precautions in case of early symptoms.
A 22-year-old male from Thane, who was recently detected positive for swine flu (category A) travelled to the city. “The boy, who was continuously sneezing, was sitting in my chamber with his father. He was infected with the virus but was taking no precaution like wearing a mask or using a hand sanitizer when he travelled to Nagpur on train. The first thing I told him was to buy a mask. He was advised to come back after three days, and he came without a mask,” said Barokar, adding that such people are exposing everyone around them to the risk of catching the flu.
He said, “Category A patients alone make up 30% of all affected patients. If we hospitalize them, we won’t have enough beds for type C patients, and even their numbers are extremely high. For type C patients, we may face a shortage of ventilators in the city in coming time. There are agencies that provide ventilators on rent, but even their stock is already being used by now.”
Deputy director health Dr Sanjay Jaiswal said, “There are some things we can’t stop. We can’t make people stay locked up inside their home. Monitoring such a thing is not possible. However, as a social responsibility, citizens need to take precautionary measures.”