The incidence of swine flu in the State is more alarming in the State this year than 2009 but the scare in the community witnessed last year is missing, according to Special Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, J. Satyanarayana. People had reacted spontaneously to the virus last year but nothing of the sort was seen now though it had already claimed 16 lives, including eight pregnant women, in the last seven months. There was not a single death in the corresponding period last year, he said at a workshop at the Indian Institute of Health and Family Welfare here on Saturday.
The senior official warned that the situation could worsen from August to October going by last year's experience when 642 positive cases were detected and 39 deaths occurred during the period. The probability of infection was more and the morbidity could also be higher this year, he added.
Mr. Satyanarayana said it was found that the virus was no longer imported as in 2009 when the cases were primarily detected at Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam airports.
It had become residential as seen from arrival of patients here from remote villages in Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda. Talking to reporters later, he said it was decided to make swine flu checks mandatory for pregnant women at all government hospitals since they carried six times higher risk of infection. The institute director Prakash Bhatia said a major epidemiological shift had occurred with the spread of swine flu which was more rampant in south than in northern States. The head of microbiology at Gandhi Medical College N.K. Saxena said the virus had waned off in November – December last year but re-emerged more forcefully this year.