1,266 Swine flu cases reported in Maharashtra between Jan 1 and April 15
Swine flu (H1N1) has claimed 98 lives in Maharashtra in the first four months of this year, revealed statistics from the state public health department. The state reported 1,266 cases of swine flu from January 1 to April 15. Eight of these patients are on ventilator. In 2018, the state had recorded 2,594 cases of swine flu, resulting in 462 deaths.
Between March 15 and April 15 alone, 454 H1N1 cases were reported in the state, which resulted in the deaths of 43 patients. A majority of the cases were reported from Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Thane and Palghar, said officials at the Directorate of Health Services (DHS).
Experts said fluctuating temperatures in March and April, and high humidity levels could be helping the spread of the virus. Health officials also cited better surveillance for more cases being reported. However, experts said that the virus is not spreading as rampantly as it was a month ago and the number of cases is likely to go down in the coming months.
“The number of patients are decreasing gradually and the virus is not spreading as aggressively as it did a month ago. Vaccinations reduce the risk of the virus, especially among highrisk groups,” said Dr Om Srivastava, head, infectious diseases department, Jaslok Hospital.
With the government’s statewide vaccination campaign getting delayed owing to difficulties in procuring the vaccines, high-risk patients such as those with immunodeficiency disorders or lifestyle diseases, children, pregnant women and senior citizens, are likely to come under severe threat.
The state had planned to launch the campaign on April 1, to immunise 1.25 lakh people, especially those in the high-risk groups.
Dr P Awte, surveillance officer, DHS, said, “The procurement of vaccines has been delayed owing to technical errors. We are attempting to resolve the issue at the earliest, so that we can start the vaccination drive. We will focus on Nashik, where the maximum number of deaths (24) were reported, and will intensify the campaign in Nagpur (16 deaths), Ahmednagar (12 deaths) and Pune (eight deaths).”