Karnataka sees spurt in H1N1 cases

Karnataka sees spurt in H1N1 cases

H1N1 virus returns; spurt in cases gives city jitters again

As many as 314 persons tested positive for Influenza-A (H1N1) which is also known as the swine flu; in Karnataka. The maximum number of cases reported are in Bengaluru city areas. Shivamogga and Dakshina Kannada follow closely. Reuters file photo for representation only

Rearing its ugly head yet again, the deadly H1N1 virus has Bengaluru in the grip of panic.

The sudden surge in the number of cases from various parts of Bengaluru has left the health department and officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) flummoxed. Giving the jitters, Bengaluru alone reported 98 confirmed cases of H1N1, the highest for any district in the state till last Saturday (October 6).

Dr S Sajjan Shetty, joint director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBCP), said that until August, there were just around 37 cases of H1N1 flu, but from September onwards, there has been a sudden spurt, maybe due to rapid change in the weather coupled with monsoon rains.

What has left the officials stunned is the unprecedented surge in Mahadevapura area where about 33 confirmed cases of H1N1 have been reported. A senior officer from the health department said, “This is attributed to large-scale migrant population in the area, besides the high density of people. Further, rampant pollution has also added to the spread of the disease in the area.”  

“We have taken adequate precautionary measures to curtail the spread of respiratory infections. Tamiflu, the antiviral drug, is being administered to those who are complaining of fever and other cold symptoms. Swab samples of those with high fever and cold are being collected and sent to laboratories recognised by the health department. About 4,400 samples have been sent to the laboratories where health workers are personally carrying the swabs in a cold chain to the laboratories for testing,” Dr Shetty said.

Even though several zones in BBMP limits have witnessed a high prevalence rate of H1N1 cases, the delayed action by the health authorities has left many worried. “While the Bommanahalli area has seen six cases, till date no action has been initiated. Similarly, the areas outside the BBMP limits have revealed 19 confirmed cases and no remedial measures have been adopted. The situation in Yelahanka is also the same. Is the BBMP or the health department really working to contain the spread of the virus,” questioned a resident from HSR Layout.

Dr G Arun Kumar, a professor, MCVR, said that the spurt in the cases of H1N1 flu may also be due to lack of immunity as it does not last for a long time. “If a person has developed the flu and recovered and had also developed immunity, it may last for less than a year. There are chances of the person developing the infection again. Along with this, the virus becomes very conducive during rainy and winter season as it spreads through droplets. All these reasons may have added to the spurt,” he said.