Speaking to the media on Friday on the sidelines of a book release function at the state secretariat here, he said patients with diabetes or other health complications had died due to the H1N1 viral infection and private hospitals were not up to the mark vis-a-vis prompt administering of swine flu curing medicines.

"Swine flu is curable. As the temperatures go higher, the virus will die...We have kept medication ready. We have kept places for them (patients) in the GMC (Goa Medical College)," he said.

One of the systemic discrepancies which was impeding the treatment of swine flu patients was the shoddy manner in which private hospitals were treating patients, the health minister said.

"What happens in private hospitals is that examinations are not conducted in the way they are supposed to. They have to test the patients in time. Not that you can go for swine flu (treatment) after five-six days, when the (initial) treatment goes wrong. Swine flu has to be checked immediately," D'Souza said.

Most patients in Goa who were suspected of having swine flu prefer private hospitals, as a result of which designated government treatment centres were empty, he said.

"People have an impression that private hospitals are better than government hospitals," he said. He said each of the three people who died of swine flu in Goa had other health complications which impeded the recovery process.

He said one patient was 80-year-old and a chronic smoker with lung complications and the other was suffering from diabetes.

"Normal people do not have any issue at all. We have treated a one-year-old girl and sent her back. Those people who have diabetes have higher risk," he said. D'Souza said there were reports that the H1N1 virus was now mutating into the H3N2. "I am being told this," he said.

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