The second swine flu death in Tamil Nadu was recorded here on Thursday, after a 47-year-old man who was admitted to the Government General Hospital (GH) for treatment succumbed to the A(H1N1) virus.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, the GH dean J. Mohanasundaram said that on August 13, the patient who came with symptoms of the flu, was suspected to harbour the A(H1N1) virus. He was immediately admitted to the hospital and administered Tamiflu.

His swab samples were taken and sent to the King Institute, Guindy. "However, before we got the results, the patient absconded on August 14," the dean said.

A day later, the hospital received the patient's result that said he tested positive for A(H1N1). Following this, the dean contacted the Directorate of Public Health and a team of officials were sent to the patient's residence in Injambakkam. The team found out that the patient had admitted himself to a private hospital in Adyar.

"We understand that a rapid test for the virus was taken by that hospital and the patient tested negative," Dr. Mohanasundaram said, clarifying that it was possible for the rapid test and the Real Time-PCR Test to show different results.

Health Department officials went to the private hospital and told them that the patient actually tested positive for A(H1N1), following which he was brought back to the GH with ventilator support, in an ambulance on Wednesday. "We suspect that since Tamiflu was discontinued in between, the virus developed resistance to it and the patient's condition worsened yesterday. He had pneumonia and severe respiratory problems before he died."

The family members did not have any symptoms of the virus and would be monitored. "The family follows the practice of burying the body. We have given them specific instructions to disinfect the body and go in for deep burial, so that the virus does not spread," he added.

Lessons

On the lessons from this case, the dean said it was very important not to discontinue a prescribed course of Tamilfu, as the body would not respond to it even if it is resumed. "Patients should cooperate with us, so that we can do our best."

On the number of swine flu cases being treated at the GH at present, Dr. Mohanasundaram said 6 persons showed symptoms, out of which three tested positive for the virus. "They are being treated and their condition is stable. There is no need to panic," he said.