GUWAHATI, July 6 - At a time when the entire State machinery has been mobilised to tackle the menace of Japanese encephalitis (JE), Assam has reported its first death owing to swine flu in the current year.
The death was reported in a private hospital located on the city outskirts.
The previous case of death due to swine flu (H1N1 virus) too was detected in Kamrup (Metro), although the health department could not confirm the exact dates.
A number of patients have been tested positive for the H1N1 virus in the last few months.
Significantly, the latest death due to swine flu was kept under the wraps, for reasons best known to the health department. The history of the movement of the deceased is now being investigated to track the source of the air-borne virus.
Contrary to what the clinical report of the Department of Microbiology at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) has detected, officials of the health department including the National Health Mission, however, feigned ignorance and denied having received any report of death due to the H1N1 virus.
As per a report issued on July 4, Bhagawan Prasad, aged around 75 years, was tested positive for the H1N1 virus. The H1N1 detection was done by Real Time PCR.
Prasad, who hailed from Baksa district, was earlier diagnosed with pulmonary koch (tuberculosis), bronchial asthma, was admitted to Narayana Hridalaya at Amingaon with a history of fever for three days on July 2 with unresponsiveness and breathing difficulty.
�Although he was initially treated at a local hospital, later he was shifted to Narayana Hridalaya where he was kept in isolation,� sources said, after which the samples were sent to the GMCH for H1N1. In Assam, only two laboratories, both government-run setups, have the facility to test the H1N1 virus.
Meanwhile, sources said that a report related to the swine flu death, has already been sent to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, which is mandated to strengthen disease surveillance for infectious diseases to detect and respond to outbreaks.
A total of 198 cases, including five death cases, were detected in Assam in 2017. No H1N1 case was detected in the State in 2018. In 2019, four cases, including one death, have been detected in Kamrup (M).