A resident doctor from the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has contracted H1N1 infection after coming in contact with the patients. She has been tested for the virus at the state-run hospital called JJ hospital in Byculla district, Mumbai.
Doctors at the hospital said that there has been a recent increase in the load of H1N1 patients who required testing. Therefore many resident doctors were involved in collecting samples from the patients.
H1N1 activity gained momentum in the Mumbai city over the last two weeks of August when nearly 300 positive cases and 10 deaths have been reported.
"From one or two odd samples, we started collecting anything between 10-15 since the last two weeks. While we have stock of N95 masks, often when the patient load is more, masks tend to run out. We also juggle between emergency shifts and ward duties by which time the mask could get soiled and thereby ineffective," said one of the doctors from the department.
Dean Dr TP Lahane said that the hospital has adequate stock of N95 masks. "Currently, we have around 2000 units in our stock. Also, we do not test samples in the hospital. They are merely collected here, and then sent to Haffkine Research Institute for testing."
One of the doctors on preventive treatment had even taken the flu vaccine last week. It is made available by the state government for healthcare workers. "We don't know how effective that would be because of the suspected antigenic shift of the virus," said the doctor.
While there are no clear numbers, the civic body said that several doctors have contracted the infection and successfully got cured of it through timely treatment. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) has demanded adequate protective gear for their colleagues who come in direct contact with patients.