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H1N1 scare: Caught a cold? Stay at home

Stay indoors even if you have a common cold to stop the H1N1 virus from spreading, BMC officials said.

mumbai Updated: Aug 18, 2015 23:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Stay indoors even if you have a common cold to stop the H1N1 virus from spreading, BMC officials said.

The advisory comes as 2,269 H1N1 cases have been recorded in Mumbai this year alone; 36 people have died of swine flu and a fourth of all reported swine flu deaths were in the past fortnight.

The numbers may be going up because better diagnostic facilities are available, but health officials maintained the transmission of the virus in the community is high.

“In case of flu-like symptoms, people should look at home isolation. If a person has fever, with cough and cold, he or she should consider staying indoors, as travelling by public transport can put others at risk of contracting H1N1,” said Dr Mini Khetarpal, the chief of the civic epidemiology cell.

Flus make people vulnerable to infection, so avoiding overcrowded places can help reduce the transmission of H1N1, Khetarpal said.

“Many patients continue to go to work even though they have flu-like symptoms. It is only when they are extremely weak do they take leave. I ask my patients to work from home,” said Dr Shahid Barmare, a physician at Kohinoor Hospital, Kurla. Barmare said an increasing number of people are contracting flu.

What is more worrisome for doctors is distinguishing between swine flu and other virus-induced flus, which are also common this time of the year.

“We are treating swine flu patients on a daily basis. People with irritating cough, combined with headache and fever should be screened for swine flu,” said Dr Pratit Samdani, physician at Breach Candy Hospital.

In 2009-10, when swine flu first broke out in Mumbai, 1,761 people contracted the infection and 28 people died. “At that time, there were fewer testing facilities and hence, the cases and deaths could have been under-reported. As testing facilities are available now, the number of cases and deaths appear to be more,” said a senior civic health official.

First Published: Aug 18, 2015 23:29 IST