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Swine Flu Explosion In The Country, 14-Fold Rise In Cases This Year

Where only 265 people were infected by H1N1 last year, as many as four times of these many people have died due to the virus this year.

Swine Flu Explosion In The Country, 14-Fold Rise In Cases This Year

H1N1 infection kills four times more people this year

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Over 10000 cases of the H1N1 virus reported in the country in a month
  2. The death toll has come up to 377 after four more succumbed to this virus
  3. Doctors have recommended the trivalent influenza vaccine to the people
Swine flu explosion in India, over 10000 cases of the H1N1 virus reported in the country in less than a month. As per the Union Health Ministry data, 25864 cases of the H1N1 influenza were reported this year all across the country till August 27, which is over 14 times as compared to the 1786 cases reported in 2016. Where only 265 people were infected by H1N1 last year, as many as four times of these many people have died due to the virus this year. 

From January, the death toll has come up to 377 after four more succumbed to this virus on Tuesday. Officials have also revealed that 133 new cases had been reported on Tuesday in the state and as many as 124 patients were discharged on the same day. 

"Since last week, 1,316 people have been discharged from hospital," they added. 

A state government release also stated that the number of cases daily have come down to 140 from 200 when a home-to-home surveillance had been conducted. 

Last week, a case was reported in Mumbai about a girl named Priyanka Mehta (name changed), 26, had succumbed to this deadly virus at the BYL Nair Medical College. She was diagnosed with the H1N1 virus on August 23, after her blood reports from the Metropolis Laboratories turned out to be positive. 4 days before that she had been suffering from flu- like symptoms. Oseltamivir drug had been given to her but it had been delayed for eight hours which led to her death. 

The highest number of cases had been reported in Maharashtra (4456 and 465 deaths) followed by Gujarat (4431 and 329 deaths). Rajasthan witnessed the third highest number of cases, 847 cases and 80 deaths. Other states affected were Kerala (1384 cases and 75 deaths), Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Telangana and Karnataka. 

"Patients with cough, cold, fever, body ache, running nose, and watery eyes should immediately be started on a course of Oseltamivir. The drug is best effective within 48 hours of setting in of the symptoms. The treatment should be started pre-emptively, without waiting for the test results to arrive," says Dr Om Shrivastava, a Mumbai-based infectious diseases consultant.

Experts have also been concerned because the numbers are expected to increase during winters this year where the rise is being witnessed in August itself. 

"To see such startling figures in August clearly needs some introspection. Delay in diagnosis and treatment is fatal. While two-thirds of the patients who succumbed had other problems such as diabetes or malfunctioning thyroid, one-third had no related co-morbidities." Dr Shrivastava said.
One of the Health Ministry officials clarified that this virus naturally mutates over time. "Every few years, there is an antigenic shift, and a different virus emerges," he said.

Doctors have recommended the trivalent influenza vaccine to the people, it protects against Influenza Type A, B and H1N1.

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