The latest analysis of the H1N1 deaths has revealed that of the total people who died due to swine flu at Sassoon General Hospital since April, 51 per cent were from rural interiors of Pune and adjoining districts like Ahmednagar, Satara and Nashik.
"H1N1 infection has spread to the rural interiors. Of the total 33 people who fell victim to the virus at the isolation ICU of Sassoon Hospital, 17 were from rural parts of Maharashra," Arun Jamkar, dean of the Sassoon General Hospital told TOI on Thursday.
Of the 33 dead, 14 were from city limits of Pune. "However, 12 people who died were from rural parts of Pune. Five deaths were from adjoining districts like Ahmednagar (2), Satara (2) and Nashik (1) - all rural interiors of Maharashtra. And, one each from Mumbai and solapur died at the hospital," he said.
Mandeep Chadha, deputy director of National Institute of Virology, said, "Besides monsoon, which provides conducive conditions for its spread, the virus’s stride in virgin interiors of the state is worsening the situation."
Pointing out other reasons why the virus could have spread in rural parts, microbiologist Siddhartha Dalvi, said, "Rural parts of the district have witnessed considerable spells of rain and could have helped in the spread of the virus. Moreover, awareness among people living in rural areas about the signs and symptoms of the H1N1 influenza is very low."
"H1N1 casualties in the rural parts of the Pune district are largely due to delayed diagnosis and treatment," opined Sharad Agarkhedkar, president of the city unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA). "There is an urgent need to strengthen the rural health care system. Timely administration of Tamiflu is crucial for recovery," he added.
D S Dakhure, director of state health services, said," There is no denying the fact that the H1N1 virus has got entrenched in rural parts of the state. Keeping this in mind, we have started strengthening the rural health care system."