A day after a girl IN Pune succumbed to swine flu, authorities swung into action on Tuesday quarantining 27 contacts of the 14-year-old besides putting on medication the staff of the hospital which came in contact with her. Reedal Shaikh died at Jahangir Hospital in Pune on Monday, making her India's first swine flu fatality.
Authorities at her St Anne's school kept the school closed on Tuesday in memory of the departed student. Dr Pradeep Awte, who heads the nodal flu monitoring cell in Maharashtra, said the mother and cousin sister of the deceased girl, who were in close contact with her, had tested negative for swine flu. The authorities have home quarantined 27 other contacts of the girl putting them under surveillance and preventive medication. The staff of Jehangir hospital, right from the wardboy who interacted with the patient, have been put on medication after the girl tested positive for H1N1, he added.
A tense atmosphere prevailed inside and outside the Jehangir Hospital where mediapersons were denied access to information and kept waiting for over three hours as doctors refused to meet and discuss the case that shook the city which now has recorded 104 H1N1 positive cases, mostly school children.
An official briefing by civic and hospital authorities was finally held in the Jehangir premises after 2300 hrs even as the Central health officials broke the news in the national capital blaming the hospital for delay in diagnosis and administering the prescribed treatment for the deadly virus that has now bared its fangs in the country. The hospital version given by medical superintendent Dr Prasad Mogilikar said the ninth class girl student admitted on July 27 with "non-specific" symptoms (fever and sore throat) was actually put on the Tamiflu tablets only on July 31 when her blood sample tested positive for H1N1, which meant a delay of almost four days. Incidentally, it was the first private hospital that treated a swine flu case. Three civic hospitals in the city have become the main referral centres for the virus for the last one month.