Swine flu threat growing big in India this year, killed 525
More than 10,000 people are already infected with the fatal viral infection in the country during the past six months.health Updated: Jun 23, 2017 09:53 IST
After 2009 and 2015, swine flu, renamed as influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus by the World Health Organisation (WHO), cases are going up alarmingly this year.
In the past six months, the country has already reported a total of 10, 812 cases, and 525 people have succumbed to the viral infection, shows government data.
Western and Southern states of India, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are the worst hit as these regions account for close to 60% of all the swine flu cases.
More people— 245— have died in Maharashtra, as compared to 26 in the corresponding period last year. While Mumbai is also reporting cases, but the worst hit cities are Aurangabad, Nashik and Pune, from where maximum cases and deaths are being reported.
Health ministry’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) is monitoring the situation, however, there is no cause for concern.
“It is a natural influenza pattern; we see cases going up once in a couple of years as people develop natural immunity for a limited period of time It is nowhere close to a pandemic situation so far this year,” said a senior Union health ministry official.
There is still no answer to as to why these states are reporting more cases this year.
“We don’t have an answer to this. We definitely need studies to understand why the virus behaves differently in different parts of the country,” Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had told HT.
Each year, annual influenza outbreaks affect 5-15% of the world’s population, estimates the World Health Organisation, causing symptoms of fever, lethargy and cough.
Most people recover within a week, with deaths occurring from complications such as pneumonia and multi-organ failure in people at risk, such as children with respiratory problems, pregnant women, older adults and those with chronic ailments such a lung diseases, heart disease and diabetes.
“We are getting swine flu cases but most recover on their own. Situation is not that bad in Delhi, and we are not even getting everyone with symptoms tested,” said Dr Srikant Sharma, senior consultant, department of medicine, Moolchand Hospital.
Symptoms to watch out for
*loss of appetite
*nausea and/or vomiting