The hot, dry spell in Mumbai could be a boon for the battle against swine flu. If the condition persists for a week to 10 days, it will help check the spread of the H1N1 virus, which causes swine flu, experts said.
The virus can survive only for six days at 35°C to 37°C in the air. Ample sunlight also destroys the virus. The ideal temperature for the virus’ spread is around 20°C.
“That’s why European countries are expecting a second wave around October, when winter sets in,” said Narendra Arora, senior epidemiologist and executive director of Delhi-based Indian Clinical Epidemiology Network.
According to the weather office, the dry spell will last a while; the temperature has hovered between 27°C and 31°C through the rainless period.
Weathermen expect the mercury to stay high over the next few days as rain clouds are missing.
“We expect the maximum temperature to be around 32°C,” said K. Sathidevi, director, Indian Meteorology Department, Mumbai. Also, only passing showers are expected.
“The virus cannot survive in this heat; transmission will be low,” said Dr Bir Singh, professor, community medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences. “How fatal this virus would prove in the future is not known, but a ray of hope has emerged as the high temperature could come to our rescue.”