After a lull of over a month, swine flu virus has reared its head again, infecting two elderly individuals from the city. Public health officials portend more infections that may continue well into summer.
A 65-year-old and a 69-year-old, unrelated and both from Hitech City, were admitted to private hospitals last weekend with symptoms of swine flu, sources in the health administration informed. Test confirmed H1N1 infection. The patients were said to be stable on Monday but co-morbid conditions and age puts them at increased risk of mortality. Report of the two cases of infection comes at an unlikely time. In December, the health administration received 35 samples from patients with suspected swine flu infections, but tests at the Institute of Preventive Medicine did not find a positive case, despite marked fall in temperature during the month. Post-monsoon, through the winters a consistent reduction in infections were witnessed for the past few years. But a spike in cases was seen when warm weather prevailed, data shows. Through its yearly updates, Ministry of Health and Family informed last week that State recorded 2,165 swine flu infections in 2017. The flu killed 21, the Ministry claimed. More than two-third of last year’s infections and nearly all deaths occurred between January and May. “The latest report of infections, after a month’s lull, put us on a vigil. A spurt in cases is likely. A virology analysis will soon be required to determine if the virus remains the same as last year,” a Telangana health official informed, adding that the State will soon initiate measures to minimise disease burden. Viral DNA analysis revealed H1N1 had changed strains and may have adapted to peninsular India’s harsh summers.
The World Health Organisation maintains that while most people in temperate regions are at risk of seasonal influenza like H1N1 during winters, seasonality is now less obvious in tropical regions and epidemics can occur any time.