With 2 more deaths at SKIMS due to H1N1 influenza, toll 16

Two more patients have died of H1N1 influenza at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences here in the past two days, taking the death toll due to the viral infection to 16 in Kashmir so far, an official source said on Sunday.
Two male patients who had been admitted to the hospital had tested positive for the H1N1 influenza and died during the past week, the source said.
One of the male patients from Srinagar, aged around 60, was admitted for brain hemorrhage and suffered a respiratory failure. During the course of investigations, it was found that he was infected with H1N1 influenza virus and he eventually died at the intensive care unit, said a doctor. Another patient, a 50-year-old man—also from Srinagar—who was admitted at the SKIMS isolation ward died during the past week, the doctor said.
With these fresh deaths, the official death toll attributable to H1N1 influenza has reached 16 in Kashmir this season, so far.
Another doctor at SKIMS said that the administration has failed to ensure adequate facilities at the isolation ward.
“There are just two ventilators and inadequate staff. We have to shuttle patients between the isolation ward and ICUs,” the doctor said.
Although SKIMS medical superintendent refused to comment about deaths citing media gag, the director SKIMS, while speaking to a radio channel recently, had acknowledged that 16 people had lost their lives to H1N1 influenza during this season. He had also said that 258 patients had tested positive while 93 were admitted for treatment of the H1N1 influenza.
The Indian council of medical research (ICMR) has already cautioned that Kashmir was currently in midst of influenza “outbreak” which had started “earlier than expected.”
“Previous multisite studies have shown peak influenza activity in Kashmir from January to March. This year early activity of influenza has been observed since early October 2017,” said ICMR deputy additional deputy director general, Sanjay Mehendale.
Last week, Kashmir Post, quoting the ICMR data, had reported how SKIMS had manipulated figures about samples that had tested positive for the influenza. In November, the SKIMS administration had started issuing official handouts about the influenza situation, but the practice was suddenly stopped.
Although the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program of the union ministry of health is mandated to alert people in case of influenza and other infectious diseases, the state head of IDSP, Dr SM Kadri, said that it was not monitoring SKIMS data.
“We monitor data from districts only and not SKIMS and whatever is on the website (of ICMR) would not include SKIMS figures,” he said.
The H1N1 influenza update on IDSP website states that 16 people have lost their lives to influenza this year and 81 more have tested positive in J&K.