One in six people testing for influenza A H1N1, better known as swine flu, is found to be infected with the virus, government data from Delhi shows.
As many as 188 of the 1,197 people who have tested in the Capital since January 1 have been found to be infected with the flu characterised by fever, cough, body aches and troubled breathing. The city has reported six swine flu deaths during the month.
The data didn’t prove that H1N1 was deadlier than other flu viruses and there was no reason to worry, experts said.
“Swine flu is not any more deadly than the other seasonal flu strains and we have developed immunity against it,” Dr RN Das, a top Delhi health official, said.
Only people with severe symptoms — high fever and breathing difficulty — were tested and many more who had swine flu were recovering on their own, said Dr RK Singhal, director, department of medicine, BLK Superspecialty Hospital, Delhi.
In Noida, seven of the 12 people have been found to be infected since December 31, when the first suspected case was reported there. Results are awaited for five more samples.
In Ghaziabad, 10% -- 5 of the 50 blood samples –- have returned positive. Gurgaon doesn’t have a record of people tested, but has reported six cases and three deaths.
Unnecessary tests should be avoided, said Das, who is with Delhi directorate of health services. The H1N1 test is expensive. Private labs charge between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 8,000 per blood sample.
“A majority of those getting tested -- I would say between 70% and 90% -- should not have got tested since they had mild disease and symptoms. All they needed was rest at home,” Das said.
Doctors look at symptoms, chest x-rays and oxygen levels in the blood to determine the need for a test. Signs of rapidly worsening symptoms should be closely tracked in children under five, elderly and people with cancer, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and uncontrolled diabetes, doctors said.
“In January, we have tested around 15 positives but in all of them the strain was mild. There’s absolutely no cause for concern,” said Dr Navin Dang of Dr Dang’s Lab, a chain of diagnostic and pathology laboratories.