With 22 new swine flu cases reported in Mumbai on Wednesday, the total number of cases this year has touched that of 2009, when the flu first hit the city. The World Health Organisation in 2009 had declared the H1N1 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, labelling it a pandemic – affecting many countries and continents at the same time.
According to the civic epidemiology cell, 1,497 swine flu cases were recorded in the city in 2009. This year, 1,496 swine flu cases have been recorded in just February and March. “In the 2009 pandemic, we saw maximum cases in the monsoon, but this year the situation is different. We have recorded swine flu cases in winter and summer (March),” said Dr Mangala Gomare, chief of epidemiology cell, BMC.
Doctors have said swine flu cases will show a decline, as the H1N1 virus cannot survive high temperatures. Two weeks ago, an average of 40 -45 new cases were being recorded daily, but in the past few days, the average number of cases has dropped to 20 -25 a day. “Swine flu cases are showing a declining trend,” said Dr Gomare.
The state too is witnessing a drop in H1N1 cases. On Wednesday, 79 new cases were reported in the state, with eight deaths. This year, Maharashtra has recorded 4,273 swine flu cases, with 368 deaths.
Doctors said the rise in swine flu cases this year cannot be brushed off as a “cyclic trend.” “There is definitely a change in the virus, which has resulted in the surge in transmission of H1N1 infection. In just two months this year, we have seen as many cases as in the whole of 2009, which is of concern,” said Dr Om Shrivastav, director, infectious department, Jaslok Hospital.