H1N1 cases see alarming rise this year; 10 deaths in 3 months

H1N1 cases see alarming rise this year; 10 deaths in 3 months

 Over 1,000 cases of H1N1 have been reported in the state in a span of just one month. In all, 1,600 cases of the flu have been reported this year so far.

A total of 110 cases of the flu were reported in 2016. While no deaths were reported last year, in a span of just three months in 2017, H1N1 has claimed 10 lives as per figures available with the department of health and family welfare.

Dr Shashidhar Buggi, director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), said the figures were very high this year. Usually, the disease is prevalent between October and January. But this year, there has been a spurt in February and March.

“It will not be similar to the pandemic witnessed in 2009. A certain population has developed immunity towards the disease. However, the immunity lasts only for a period of time. Should the virus mutate or change its virulence, there are chances that people get affected,” said Buggi.

This year, it is the adults who are worst affected. “Earlier, we would see youngsters being susceptible. This year, it is mostly those who have crossed 40 years who were affected. This could be attributed to co-morbid conditions such as malnutrition, diabetes or other non-communicable diseases. Those on steroids or chemotherapy are more susceptible,” he said. Buggi advised that those susceptible to the flu, for whom it lasts for over two days, could take Oseltamivir medicine.

“The main reason why we see a rise in H1N1 cases is that proper diagnostic tests are in place and awareness about H1N1 has increased among the people. Due to this, there are more cases being reported. However, the rate of mortality remains the same,” said Dr Rini Banerjee, consultant (infectious diseases), Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwantpur.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to seasonal influenza which include fever with chills, cough, sore throat, headache and bodyache, occasionally associated with nausea and diarrhoea. It is pertinent not to ignore any symptoms and seek medical attention immediately, especially if you have symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, vomiting, chest pain, Dr Banerjee said.

The health department says there have been only 10 cases of H1N1 deaths so far, but hospitals seem to give higher figures. A top source in RGICD said there have been 20 deaths in the institute alone.

2 lives lost in Bagalkot

Six cases of H1N1 have been confirmed in the district, two of whom are reported dead, reports DHNS from Bagalkot.

A 20-year-old woman from Koodalasangama in Hungund taluk of the district, who had returned home after treatment, died on March 14. A six-year-old boy who was undergoing treatment for the disease died on March 16.

Dr Ananth Desai, district health officer, told DH that health department staff have been vaccinated against the disease as a precautionary measure.
 

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