In August, around 23 people were affected by the H1N1 infection daily in Mumbai, said the BMC epidemiology cell. Last month, 715 people were detected with swine flu as compared to just one case reported in last August.
Public health experts said the number of people taking ill with the infection will only rise. “In Mumbai, swine flu is being reported throughout the year. The infection is becoming endemic,” said a senior doctor. After Nagpur, Mumbai has recorded maximum swine flu deaths.
Since January, 43 people in Mumbai have died of swine flu. To curb the number of cases, the state health department has recommended vaccination for people who fall in the high risk category that includes people with low immunity, pregnant women, children and the elderly.
“Around 10,000 H1N1 vaccines are available with the health department. In the last fortnight, the number of pregnant women taking the vaccine has gone up in the state,” said Dr Satish Pawar, director, directorate health services in the state.
The state health department is providing free vaccines to pregnant women against swine flu. So far, 39 pregnant women have died of H1N1 in the state this year.
The health department is still grappling with the high mortality rate.
“There is still a delay in initiating treatment for patients diagnosed with H1N1. We have already asked doctors to start a patient on treatment if they clinically suspect swine flu. There is no need to wait for the test reports,” added Dr Pawar. Oseltamivir, drug administered to swine flu patients, is best effective when started within 72 hours of testing.
“There is a change in the way patients are responding to the infection. People with co-morbidities are sometimes responding well compared to those without co-morbidities. There is a need to analyse the guidelines for treatment as well as people in high risk categories to reduce morbidity,” said, Dr Om Shrivastav, infectious disease specialist.