India registered its first swine flu death on Monday after a 14-year-old school girl from Pune fell victim to the virus, a week after she was admitted to a private hospital with symptoms of the disease.
The death occurred even as health officials in Pune said three more persons including two students tested positive for the H1N1 virus on Sunday night, taking the total number of Swine flu cases in the city to 101.
Several schools were also shut down after Pune came on the country's swine flu map with 558 cases reported in several parts of the country.
Confirming the death, Union Health Secretary Naresh Dayal said the girl who has not been identified yet could have been "saved" if there was medical intervention in time suggesting there was a delay in treatment.
The girl first started showing symptoms of sore throat, running nose, headache on July 21 after which she consulted a doctor, a health ministry official said, adding she had improved following which she resumed going to school.
She developed fever again on July 25 for which she consulted another private medical practitioner but the fever persisted and was admitted to Jahangir hospital on July 27. As the patient's condition worsened, she was shifted to ICU and was put on ventilator on July 29 and she tested positive for swine flu on July 30.
Despite being on Oseltamivir, an anti-swine flu drug, her condition deteriorated leading to multi-organ failure and she expired at 5 pm on Monday, a senior health ministry official said in New Delhi.
Health authorities in New Delhi and Mumbai said there was no reason for panic but counselled schools not to allow students showing symptoms of the disease like severe cold, body ache and cough.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Dilip Bhand said swine flu patients must take treatment in government hospitals.
The fresh cases in Pune included two students and a 26-year-old youth who returned from Germany, officials said, adding that the patients had been admitted to the isolation ward of the civic Naidu hospital.
Nine schools were shut down for about a week during the past one month and all but three of them have resumed. As many as 64 Swine flu cases in the city have been treated and discharged so far, officials said.
The number of H1N1 infection in Maharashtra now stands at 147, they said. Maharashtra Health Department's Deputy Director Dr Pandit Chavan said samples of the girl's throat swab were sent to the Pune-based National Institute of Virology and reports confirmed the presence of the virus.
Chavan also she had pneumonia. "We have given directions to our officials at various levels to monitor people who have come in contact with patients with the virus," he added. "Whoever is found infected with virus must be shifted to an isolated ward so that treatment can be started immediately," he added.
Dayal claimed that the country has managed the flu situation better than the West.