Telangana has asked the Union Health Ministry to help control the swine flu (influenza H1N1 virus) that has infected 173 people and claimed the lives of 11 people in the state in 2015.
Three infectious-disease experts left for Hyderabad on Wednesday to review the situation and offer technical guidance to control the outbreak. “The team will hold a meeting with the state health authorities on Thursday to assess the availability of medicines and diagnostics, arrangements at hospitals, clustering of cases, surveillance, sufficiency of lab facilities, preventive measures and information campaign,” said Union health minister JP Nadda.
This year, till January 13, the last day till when all-India data is available with the Centre, India reported 195 cases and 17 deaths across 15 states.
The numbers of those infected and dead have doubled over the last week. In 2014, swine flu infected 937 and killed 218 across India.
“In 2015, 173 cases have been registered in both states; 169 cases in Telangana and four in Andhra Pradesh. Seven deaths have been registered in Telangana,” said K. Subhakar, swine flu coordinator for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in a briefing on Wednesday.
Delhi this year reported 163 confirmed swine flu cases and six deaths, with four deaths from Delhi and two from the National Capital Region. 38 cases were reported in Delhi in 2014. There was one death.
Symptoms of H1N1 include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, headache and coughing, sore throat, diarrhoea, nausea and/or vomiting. It spreads through droplets expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes or by touching contaminated surfaces.
In Maharashtra, six people have succumbed to H1N1 infection this year, which experts said is alarmingly high. So far, 20 cases have been reported in January. Mumbai has not reported any cases so far.
Swine flu killed six in Gujarat since January 1 this year, with three deaths on Monday. The outbreak is centred in Saurashtra and Kutch regions, where over 50 people are being treated.
In Rajasthan, swine flu infected 48 and killed 12 till January 20 this year while swine flu claimed two lives in Lucknow, UP.
The Centre is stockpiling on 30,000 doses of the antiviral drug Oseltamivir, which shortens the duration and severity of illness if taken within the first 48 hours.