The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted cold wave for next 24 hours over Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha region of the state as a result of the presence of snow rainfall activity over Jammu and Kashmir followed by the presence of northerly wind component.Pune is also witnessing chill with minimum temperature being less than normal. On Wednesday, the city recorded a minimum temperature of 8.2 degrees Celsius while the met office has predicted that minimum temperatures over the next two days will hover between 8 and 9 degrees Celsius. Minimum temperatures are also expected to drop in parts of north and central Maharashtra till January 31.According to IMD warning, Marathwada will face cold wave on Thursday. As far as Madhya Maharashtra is concerned, IMD has predicted cold wave warning for the next 24 hours. However, IMD predicted severe cold warning for Vidarbha within the next 24 hours followed by a cold wave warning for the next 48 hours. Then only minimum temperature slowly start rising.According to IMD scientist, the presence of northerly wind component along with snow rainfall over Jammu and Kashmir followed by northerly wind is responsible for cold wave warning.Anupam Kashyapi, head of weather at IMD said, “Slowly western disturbance is towards Jammu and Kashmir as of now it is located at Pakistan and adjoining parts of the Rajasthan with induced cyclonic air circulation. After 24-48 hours it will cut off northerly wind and then the only minimum temperature will start increasing.”Temperatures, both day and night, are currently appreciably below normal at many places in Maharashtra. On Wednesday, Nagpur recorded minimum temperature of 4.6 degrees Celsius lowest in Maharashtra, followed by Gondia 6.5 degrees Celsius, Akola and Aurangabad 7 degrees Celsius, Vardha 7.4 degrees Celsius.Infections on the rise Physicians and city hospitals are seeing a rise in not only out-patient department (OPD) cases but also in-patient department cases by at least 25 per cent. Dr Sanjay Pathare, medical director of Ruby hall Clinic said that their daily OPD has gone up in the last ten days. “We are seeing new admissions every day in our infectious diseases and medicine department, which is mainly of suspected swine flu ( influenza A H1N1), respiratory track infection and common cold. In OPD, on an average, we see 500 patients everyday and now it is at least 650,”he said.Dr Avinash Bhondwe, president(elect) of Indian Medical Association, state chapter said, “There are instructions given by the state public health department about prescribing Tamiflu immediately to patients who mimic symptoms of swine flu. I am also getting lot of referral cases where the patient has not recovered even after five days of medicine. After being put on Tamiflu, these cases have shown improvement within three days’ time. I see at least 100 patients in a day and it has now gone upto 150. So, there is a definite rise in viral infection and RTI cases that can be attributed to the sudden change in the weather condition,” he said.