Swine flu, dengue spread in Kerala

More than a 100 people have died in Kerala due to different kinds of viral fever infections since January this year. News agencies reported that 53 people have died of swine flu and at least 13 have died due to dengue. The number of cases of viral fevers have only gone up since the onset of the monsoon in the state earlier this month.

On Friday, eight deaths were reported in Kerala, out of which four are suspected dengue deaths – two from Thiruvananthapuram and one each from Malappuram and Palakkad. Three fever deaths were reported from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kottayam, The Hindu reported.

On Friday, the state health department’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Project said that there were 161 confirmed cases of dengue, taking the total number of confirmed dengue cases so far this year to 6,808. There have been 13 confirmed dengue deaths so far. These numbers are likely to be lower than the actual burden of viral diseases, since a large number of people seek treatment at private health facilities that may not report cases.

The total number of suspected dengue cases this year so far is an unprecedented 23,091 cases and 38 suspected deaths. The Kerala state government has made an appeal to residents on Sunday to join the government’s mass sanitation drive on a war footing to counter this swell in infections.

Baby declared stillborn comes to life

A new born baby that was declared dead shortly after its birth at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital was found alive by its family members just before they were going to bury the child, according to a PTI report.

The baby was born premature at 22 weeks and the hospital staff found that it was motionless and not breathing. The staff declared the baby dead due to lack of apparent respiration. The body was places in a sealed bag and handed over to the father who took the body home and started preparing for the child’s funeral. However, a family member felt movement in the sealed bag and, on opening it, found the baby breathing and moving its limbs. The baby was immediately rushed back to hospital where it is undergoing treatment.

The parents have approached police claiming negligence by the hospital. The Safdarjung Hospital administration has ordered an inquiry into the matter.

Rabies death

In a rare case, a Pune man died of rabies in March and the suspected source of the rabies infection a scratch that he received from a unvaccinated pet dog 11 years ago. The victim was a 45-year-old army jawan who was not reported to have suffered any other animal bites, according to the Times of India.

The man started showing signs of a rabies infection on March 17 and sought treatment from an ayurvedic doctor in his village. But he got worse and was taken to the Military Hospital in Aurangabad on March 23. He was then referred to the Command Hospital in Pune on March 24 where he was admitted in the isolation ward with signs of abnormal behaviour, fever and possible hydrophobia.

Rabies is generally believed to have an incubation period of 30-60 days in humans, the the jawan’s death has raised old questions of longer incubation times. Medical literature suggests that there have been cases where the infection has developed even after 14 to 19 years.