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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vinay Talewar, 19, resident of Chembur succumbs to H1N1 First swine flu death in 2 years sets off alarm

Top BMC officers discuss counter-measures at emergency meeting; state health department informed

A19-year-old Chembur resident died of swine flu on Wednesday — Mumbai's first H1N1 fatality in nearly two years and a worrying addition to the growing list of positive cases this year. 
    Vinay Talewar had complained of fever and cough on July 28, but his family and doctors initially mistook the symptoms for seasonal cold. In just four days, his condition worsened at an alarming pace, forcing his family to shift him from one hospital 
to another. First swine flu death in 2 years sets off alarm 
At 11.30 am on Wednesday, Vinay died at BMC-run Kasturba Hospital, where he was admitted 24 hours ago. 
    Since January, Mumbai has recorded 213 positive cases of H1N1, which infected its first known victim in central Mexico in 2009. Last year, the figure across the state was 316. 
    The figures have exposed the civic body's claim that it has succeeded in preventing an outbreak by conducting awareness programmes. While at least three people have succumbed to swine flu at city hospitals in the past few months, Vinay is the first Mumbai resident to die of the H1N1 virus. Health officials and doctors fear that with average temperatures falling, the virus may claim more fatalities. 
    "On Saturday morning (July 28), he first complained of fever and cough. We thought it was seasonal flu and took him to a nearby hospital," said Vinay's father, Prakash. "Doctors prescribed some medicines and asked us to get a blood test done." 
    On Monday, as the virus tightened its grip, it became evident that the 19-year-old was not suffering from a common flu. "He was increasingly breathless, so we admitted him to the ICU of Chembur's Sai Hospital, where a few tests were done," said Prakash. 
    Though doctors suspected swine flu, they didn't order a swab test. "As his condition was serious, we suggested them to shift him to Kasturba Hospital, which specialises in treating swine flu cases," said Dr Khalid Sheikh, the director of Sai Hospital. 
    Early on Tuesday, he was admitted to Kasturba's swine flu ward, and a swab test was conducted. The report arrived at 5.30 pm on Wednesday, six hours after Vinay's death. 
    "We thought he would be alright soon. We didn't know he was suffering from swine flu," said his shattered mother, Nirmala. 
    Dr Umesh Aigal, the medical superintendent of Kasturba Hospital, told Mirror that by the time Vinay was 

brought there, he had developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, a precursor to respiratory failure. 
    After Vinay's death, doctors and senior civic officials convened an emergency meeting at Kasturba Hospital to discuss counter-measures. Hospital sources said that the civic executive health officer, who was present at the meeting, had sought a detailed report about the patient and the line of treatment. 
    Last week, a 20-year-old pregnant woman from Raigad district succumbed to the disease at a hospital in Navi Mumbai. This year, the H1N1 virus has claimed 33 lives across the state.

Prakash Talewar holds up a picture of his son Vinay who died of H1N1 at Kasturba Hospital on Wednesday


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