Don't panic, 55 per cent H1N1 cases already cured: experts | india | Hindustan Times
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Don't panic, 55 per cent H1N1 cases already cured: experts

india Updated: Aug 12, 2009 13:01 IST

IANS
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Don't panic, be careful. That's the advice from health experts who point out that the H1N1 influenza is milder than the seasonal flu and that 55 per cent of the more than 1,000 cases in the country have already been cured and discharged from hospitals.

India has so far has reported 1,079 swine flu cases and 15 deaths. While 589 have been discharged, the others are still undergoing treatment in various government hospitals in the country.

"The swine flu virus is a mild strain and, in fact, is less virulent than the seasonal flu, which causes more deaths... We have treatment for it, which is Tamiflu. It is a curable disease, not an incurable one," said Health Secretary Naresh Dayal.

According to Randeep Guleria, head of medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, worldwide about 95 per cent of those hospitalised have been discharged.

"Global data shows that less than six percent of those affected needed hospitalisation, while one third (of those in hospital) needed ICU care. However, those who have recovered from the flu are not immune to the infection and have to take care as others. But the next time they get the virus, it would be a mild one," Guleria said.

Officials also reassure those panicking at the rapid spread of the disease that an indigenous vaccine to tackle the viral disease is on its way.

"The work to develop an indigenous vaccine and testing kit is also going on at a fast pace and we will have a vaccine by year-end when we are expecting a more virulent strain of flu to be active," said M. Katoch, secretary in the department of health research.

A total of 4.6 million people have been screened for swine flu across the country in the past three-and-a-half months; of these 5,000 people were tested for the flu.

The central government has spent over Rs.30 million (Rs.3 crore) for testing - 1,079 positive cases and 3,921 negative.

The swine flu testing kits are imported from a US company and each positive test costs Rs.10,000 while a negative test costs Rs.5,000, the government says.