It has already claimed 8 lives in Pune this year

Swine flu seems to be returning and has claimed eight lives here this month. Despite newspaper reports that the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has announced that the ‘second wave' of swine flu has begun, the number of people getting vaccinated in the city is still not increasing.

The adjoining district of Kolhapur has registered six deaths so far. Two patients, Rajendra Ganapati Salokhe (47) and Vaishali Sanjay Vaske (35) died on Thursday, district health officials said. They were undergoing treatment in a private hospital in Kolhapur.

According to Dr. R. R. Pardeshi, Chief Medical Officer of the Pune Municipal Corporation, 342 people had tested positive for the H1N1 virus since April this year.

Twenty-four of them succumbed to the virus. About 98,129 cases were registered since April, and 11,869 people were administered Tamiflu, he said.

“All the medical staff are being vaccinated as they are in the close proximity of the patients. Till now, 280 members of the staff in Pune have undergone vaccination. We are conducting awareness campaigns in the city but it is the rural areas that need it more,” he said.

New areas

“New areas are getting entrenched. Nearby towns and villages are also getting affected now. Till now, more than 50 per cent of the death cases are from rural areas,” Dr. Pardeshi said.

Sharad Agarkhedkar, city unit president of the Indian Medical Association, said that the second wave would be more infectious.

“The virus is spreading because of secondary cases, but people are still not convinced about the usefulness and the guarantee of the vaccines. They still feel that the government should provide the vaccine free of cost.”

The State government has decided to make the Sassoon General Hospital in Pune an expert centre, by giving the doctors special training in the management and treatment of swine flu patients.

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