Changes in weather raise risk of swine flu, say docs | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Changes in weather raise risk of swine flu, say docs

mumbai Updated: Mar 13, 2013 01:44 IST
Priyanka Vora

A 64-year-old man from Borivli has tested positive for the H1N1 virus or swine flu. The case has caused concerns about a resurgence of swine flu in March when cases are rare.

“We can anticipate a rise in cases as a result of the fluctuation in the weather,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, infectious disease specialist, Jaslok Hospital, Peddar Road.

The swine flu virus does not survive in high temperatures, but humid weather combined with low temperatures, are conducive to the transmission of the virus, said doctors.

The patient, who has uncontrolled diabetes, has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of Kasturba Hospital, Chinchpokli. This is the first swine flu patient to be admitted to the hospital’s ICU this year.

In 2012, Mumbai reported 360 swine flu cases and five deaths. Though the city has not reported any swine flu-related deaths so far this year, 15 people have died and 986 people have tested positive for the virus in the state. The virus hit India in 2009 and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Public health experts say that there could be more cases that are going unreported because doctors are not testing every patient suspected of having swine flu.

“They prefer to put patients on Tami Flu medication, and if they respond to the medicines it is assumed that the patient was suffering from H1N1,” said Dr Shrivastav.

The Borivli patient was admitted to Kasturba Hospital on Monday after his throat swabs tested positive for H1N1 in a private laboratory.

The hospital authorities and Dr Arun Bamne, executive health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, declined to comment on the Borivli case.

But a source at Kasturba Hospital who did not want to be named said, “He has uncontrolled sugar levels and ulcers as a result of diabetes. He is also suffering from hypertension which puts him at a higher risk of developing further complications owing to Swine flu.”