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Swine flu alert
Posted:Dec 11, 2017
 
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People in Kashmir, especially the health care workers, have been wary about the swine flu reports that have been making rounds here since the first week of November. By the end of the third week the possibility of swine flu outbreak in Kashmir in winter months had crossed the thresholds of skepticism and the complacency harbored by state health authorities. By November 12, the swine flu had claimed five lives and the infection was spreading despite the efforts of doctors and health care workers who were treating the patients. By November 19, the death toll was seven, authorities said at SKIMS 24 swine flu patients were treated of which 12 were discharged. Director SKIMS A G Ahangar assured that doctors and workers treating the patients were immunized and given PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) masks as a precautionary measure. However, the death toll did not stop there. On November 27, reports revealed that eight persons had died due to swine flu and the infection was still spreading. Both the SKIMS Director and the Minister of State for Health and Medical Education Asiea Naqash reassured that there was no need to panic. The minister also said that medicine and facilities to tackle the disease where available. By now the deaths are said to be over 12 with a lot more infected and tested positive for the deadly H1N1 virus. Growing number of deaths and those who have got infected have left the masses worried. A pandemic, swine flu since its outbreak in India in 2009, has claimed thousands of lives across the length and breadth of the country. Many aspects of the H1N1 virus, which is said to be continuously evolving and wreaking havoc everywhere, are still wrapped in mystery. Poor defense against the virus and its spread have vexed health care experts, workers, authorities as well as the people. What is disturbing the people of Kashmir are contradictions emerging from different reports. On one hand the authorities at SKIMS claim that they are in control of the situation. On the other hand those claims are defeated by the rising death toll and infected persons including those who are treating them. Whether there is a need to quarantine the infected and further reduce the contact provokes the thought. But most people in Kashmir, today, want to know when the alert will be sounded. If doctors and health care workers treating the swine flu patients were vaccinated, why are there reports on rising number of infected persons? SKIMS authorities must provide regular updates and a more responsible response is expected of the health ministry.

 

Rising Kashmir, December 11, 2017
 
 
 
 
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