The capital might be staring at the possibility of a cholera outbreak even as a swine flu death was reported on Monday, raising questions about the general sanitation levels and quality of drinking water supplied.

In a further alarming twist, doctors had initially feared that the swine flu victim, who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia, might be a case of Corona virus.

The virus has claimed the lives of nearly 38 Haj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia since last September. Corona virus belongs to the same group of viruses as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

However, tests at the city-based Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM) later revealed that the patient died of complications arising out of H1N1 swine flu virus.

While the Hyderabad district health authorities confirmed that one case of cholera was reported from the Ziaguda area, sources said at least two to three cholera patients got admitted to the Ronald Ross Institute of Tropical Diseases, also known as Fever Hospital, in the past one week.

On the brighter side, doctors maintained that the cholera cases were not concentrated in one particular area, which was the case in 2009 when a number of cholera cases were reported from Bholakpur.

The health authorities are also saddled with the gradually increasing number of swine flu cases, which have touched 38. So far, including Monday’s fatality, five swine flu deaths have been reported in Hyderabad.

“We are going all out to spread awareness and contact programmes in Ziaguda. Cholera cases have been sporadic, and there are no indications of an outbreak. Attempts are underway to contact relatives of swine flu victim and vaccinate their relatives as a precautionary measure,” said District Health and Medical Officer (DM&HO) Dr. Narendrudu.

Meanwhile, Fever Hospital authorities said there were no cholera fatalities. “We have been receiving one or two cholera cases. The ailment is purely caused by consuming contaminated water,” Dr. K. Sankar, Superintendent, Fever Hospital, said.

Senior chest physician Dr. K. Subhakar advised that public should take precautions like cough etiquette, vaccination and personal hygiene like frequent cleaning of hands. “We are continuing our surveillance of H1N1 virus, and the virus has not mutated. Vaccines are also available,” he said.

The GHMC, too, has decided to alert the GMR Group authorities to set up screening centres at the international airport, Shamshabad, following the swine flu fatality.

“We are going all out to spread awareness and contact programmes in Ziaguda. Cholera cases have been sporadic, and there are no indications of an outbreak. Attempts are underway to contact relatives of swine flu victim and vaccinate their relatives as a precautionary measure.”

Dr. Narendrudu

District Health and Medical Officer

“We are continuing our surveillance of H1N1 virus, and the virus has not mutated. Vaccines are also available.”

Dr. K. Subhakar

Senior chest physician