Mr Yadav, whose family was infected with the deadly virus, said, “The H1N1 virus’s toll in the city this year is 22.
Mumbai: In the wake of five people succumbing to swine flu in the city this month, the BJP corporator Kamlesh Yadav and his NCP counterpart,
Dr Saida Khan have slammed the civic body for not distributing masks among the public. According to them, this is the first step in preventing the spread of the vector-borne ailment.
Dr Khan said that, while it’s essential to identify symptoms of the disease and treat them, precaution should also be taken to prevent an epidemic. Health officers of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corpora-tion (BMC) maintain that they have already initiated awareness campaigns. Talking to The Asian Age, Dr Mini Khetrapal who heads BMC’s epidemiology department, said, “The responsibility of mask distribution lies with the medical institutions. We keep sending circulars regularly to all heath posts and hospitals, but patients and their kin also need to be careful and wear masks for their protection.”
Mr Yadav, whose family was infected with the deadly virus, said, “The H1N1 virus’s toll in the city this year is 22. The BMC has failed miserably in spreading awareness about it. It has not even distributed masks to the masses, which is its responsibility.”
He added, “I have witnessed my family suffer from swine flu, but the BMC has not taken any effort to tackle this menace and distributing masks is simply missing from its agenda.” The municipal corporation’s health officers, however, said that have initiated awareness campaigns.
“Medical officers of health have conducted a rapid house-to-house survey to identify cases of influenza-like illness. A total of 2,230 houses and 9,760 people were scanned. After this, 18 patients with influenza-like illness were detected and referred to hospitals,” said BMC executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar.
Stating that the health post staffers concerned had undertaken awareness activities, she said private medical practitioners have been sensitised regarding early the initiation of Oseltamivir treatment for suspected H1N1 patients.
However, when asked about the distribution of masks, Dr Keskar did not respond.
The protective mask
The usage of masks is a temporary precaution for dealing with the various infections, said Dr Om Shrivastava, an infectious disease expert. “Use an N95 mask to prevent spreading the virus if you are suffering from H1N1, as it is an airborne virus that spreads with sneezing. People within a six-feet radius of an infected person are vulnerable,” he said.
Figures that matter
This month, 250 cases of swine flu were reported in the city, taking the number of affected people to 874 this year. Out of the 874 people, 672 are residents of Mumbai. According to epidemiology department data, there have also been 544 cases of gastroenteritis, 309 cases of malaria, 88 cases of hepatitis, 28 cases of dengue, 23 of leptospirosis and one of cholera this month.