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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Delhi records 3,500 cases of swine flu this year, highest since 2010

At 21, the death toll from swine flu in Delhi this year (till March 24) is already the highest since 2010 when the H1N1 virus infection killed 77 in the entire year, according to data from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

india Updated: Mar 27, 2019 08:09 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
21 people have died due to swine flu in Delhi this year (till March 24).
21 people have died due to swine flu in Delhi this year (till March 24).(Photo: Parveen Kumar/ Hindustan Times)
         

At 21, the death toll from swine flu in Delhi this year (till March 24) is already the highest since 2010 when the H1N1 virus infection killed 77 in the entire year, according to data from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The city has recorded 3,512 cases of swine flu this year, the second highest since 2010. In 2010, swine flu infected 2,725 people. The highest number of infections, 4307, was in 2015.

“Six of the dead were Delhi residents. The other 15 deaths were of people from neighbouring states being treated in Delhi. The numbers are high because Delhi shares borders with Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, where the number of cases is high,” said an official from the health ministry, on condition of anonymity.

 

“The sickest H1N1 patients are from other states and are referred here after they do not respond to treatment in their home state. There is a higher chance of these patients dying, and when they do, they get counted in the Delhi numbers,” said Dr Desh Deepak from the department of respiratory medicine at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

India has already reported 21,982 H1N1 cases and 741 deaths in 2019 (till March 24), according to NCDC data, as against 14,992 cases and 1,103 deaths in 2018.

Clinicians from two of Delhi’s biggest government hospitals said heightened awareness is leading to greater reporting of cases.

“More cases are being reported now because of the increased awareness and testing facilities, which have led to more people being diagnosed,” said Dr Ekta Gupta, additional professor of virology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS).

“Most of the H1N1 patients that come to Safdarjung reach here after visiting a couple of other healthcare centres. Precious treatment time is lost because it takes around five days to get a definite diagnosis and after which getting to the hospital is also an issue. Sometimes the patients are transferred from hospital to hospital without proper ventilation. By the time they come here, it becomes very difficult to save them,” said Dr S Chakrabarti, head of the department of respiratory medicine, Safdarjung Hospital.

This year, the peak of the infection was in mid-February, with 609 cases being recorded in a single week ending on February 17. The numbers are likely to increase further as India experiences a second peak of seasonal flu infections during the monsoons.

Children aged five and below, people above the age of 65, pregnant women and people with other conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or chronic lung, liver or kidneydisease are at risk of complications and should consult a doctor if high fever lasts for more than 48 hours or they develop difficulty in breathing, spit out sputum with blood, or discolouration of skin, lips and nails.