Karnataka Bureau

Davangere District Health Officer refuses to confirm virus, awaits test result

Bangalore: The H1N1 virus claimed its first reported victim in Karnataka with a 29-year-old pregnant woman succumbing to it in Davangere on Tuesday.

Jyothi (29), five months pregnant, was admitted to the S.S. Hospital here six days ago for suspected swine flu and she died on Tuesday.

District Health Officer Shivanna Reddy, however, said that it was still a “suspected” case of swine flu and the final report on the cause would be available only on Wednesday.

Jyothi was from Bagewalli village near Ajjampura in Tarikere taluk of Chikmagalur district. She was admitted to the hospital for prolonged fever. The doctors at the S.S. Hospital and Research Centre, who treated her for fever, had come to the conclusion when her condition became critical that she must have contracted swine flu. The hospital informed the District Health Officer, who collected her throat and nasal swabs and sent them to Bangalore for examination.

The authorities are now keeping a tab on students, particularly those from abroad studying in engineering and medical colleges in Davangere. A special ICU had been set up at the Chigateri General Hospital to treat suspected cases.

Sources in the Health Department told The Hindu that a 37-year-old man from Davangere, who was diagnosed as having bilateral acute respiratory distress, has been shifted to Bangalore. His relatives had a tough time as no private hospital was ready to admit him. Finally, he found a bed at the Suguna Hospital in Rajajinagar.

Maximum capacity

Even as five more cases tested positive on Tuesday, the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases was flooded with anxious people wanting to be screened for H1N1. Nearly 250 people were screened and 65 swabs were drawn. This is more than the maximum capacity of 60 swabs, the sources said.

Though there were reports that NIMHANS, the only testing centre in the city ran out of kits delaying tests, V. Ravi, Head of the Neuro-Virology Department there, told The Hindu that the reagents arrived on Tuesday morning. “We have stocks to test the swabs of at least 125 patients after which the fresh stock will arrive. We can test a maximum of 40 patients a day.”

Girl still critical

The condition of the eight-year-old girl, who had tested positive for H1N1 and admitted in the St. John’s hospital, is still critical. The child, with a history of lung disease, was hospitalised on Monday.