August saw a dip in the number of people testing positive for H1N1 virus or swine flu as compared to July. With only a month to go for the monsoon to subside, doctors said there was likely to be a further dip in the number of swine flu cases.
“In Western countries, flu infections take place in winter. Here, the virus is active throughout the year, mostly during the monsoon months. However, there has been a decline in swine flu cases in August,” said Dr Vijay Yewale, consultant pediatrician and an expert on infectious diseases.
“At the start of the monsoon, we saw some severe cases of H1N1. In the last few weeks, however, not only has the number of H1N1 cases gone down but the severity has also reduced,” said Dr Alan Soares, general physician, Holy Spirit Hospital, Andheri.
Dr Soares added that the many patients who have swine flu-like symptoms are getting better with anti-viral drugs and do not require Tamiflu.
The number of viral infections in the city has also gone down, said civic health officials. “The transmission of the virus depends on various factors such as temperature and humidity, hence people should be cautious,” said Dr Arun Bamne, executive health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Some experts say it is too early to infer that there is a dip in the number of H1N1 cases. “The difference in the number is too small. It is too short a time to infer a decline,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, infectious disease specialist, Jaslok Hospital.
In Maharashtra, the number of swine flu cases has gone up this month. In August, 280 people tested positive for swine flu across the state as compared to 206 in July, according to state health officials.