After KFD, Karnataka stares at H1N1 threat

After KFD, Karnataka stares at H1N1 threat

Alarm bells

Coping with the outbreak of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), Karnataka has been alerted by the Centre about increasing incidents of seasonal influenza, including H1N1, H3N2 and influenza B.

Based on reports obtained from laboratories recognised by the Government of India, the Centre has sounded an alert over the outbreak of yet another epidemic.

According to sources in the Health and Family Welfare Department, the incidents of seasonal influenza have been on the rise since the first of week of September 2018. As many as 1,733 positive cases were reported in 2018. This year, there have been 155 confirmed cases till January 25, said the report, a copy of which is with DH.

Dr S Sajjan Shetty, Joint Director, National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, said the department has stepped up precautionary measures to contain the spread and administer effective treatment to those affected.

“The rise in the number of cases in the past few months could be attributed to a drop in temperature as these viruses become active in low temperature. The cases were more in October-November. But now the numbers are under control. On an average, we are getting about 30 to 40 positive cases every week,” he said.

The officials, however, said that Karnataka, compared to other states, is better in containing the spread of the virus.

The report issued by the health department revealed that Bengaluru North topped the list for patients tested positive for influenza with as many as 31 cases, followed by the BBMP area (24 cases).

“Other districts like Dakshina Kannada (16), Mysuru (14) and Shivamogga (10) have also witnessed increased cases of seasonal influenza,” another official said.

The centre had obtained reports from NIV, Bengaluru, NIV Pune, Manipal Centre of Virus research, Bengaluru and Command hospital Bengaluru.

Amid an uptick in KFD cases and reports of the virus engulfing newer areas of the state, health officials clarified that the epidemic is under control.

Dr Shetty explained that surveillance activities have been intensified across Malnad districts regardless of the outbreak.

“Wherever positive cases for Kyasanur Forest Disease were reported, vaccination drive has been intensified. Our recent reports revealed that in the past 3-4 days, the fever cases have been on the downward trend but still we have increased our surveillance work,” he stated.