Mumbai

Only 34 test positive for swine flu in State so far this year

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Seven deaths from January to June; eight lakh people screened for the virus; 9,000 put on medication

As many as eight lakh people have been screened for swine flu this year so far in Maharashtra and nearly 9,000 put on oseltamivir, the medication for the disease. However, the State has recorded only 34 confirmed cases and seven deaths from January to June.

Epidemiologist Dr. Pradip Awate said H1N1 has become a seasonal influenza since the past few years. “We see a spurt every year or in one-and-a-half years. This year, we are not expecting the cases to go up to a huge number.” All ‘influenza-like’ patients, he said, are screened and put on medication.

Awareness among docs

H1N1 is an airborne respiratory disease caused by the type-A influenza virus. According to Dr. Sanjeev Kamble, head of Directorate of Health Services, hospitals across the State are focusing on offering treatment as soon as even one patient is found to have symptoms. “We have been undertaking several activities and H1N1 has been the focus of most State-level meetings,” said Dr. Kamble, adding Health Minister Deepak Sawant has also advised that there should be more awareness among doctors to curb its spread.

Last year, more than 7,000 cases and 778 deaths were reported in the State. An analysis of the deaths carried out by the government revealed that the virus had single-handedly killed the most number of people in the age group of 21 to 50 years, and delay in treatment was the main reason behind the high mortality rate.

The analysis also showed that most patients were started on oseltamivir on the fifth or sixth day of sickness. However, the protocol is to start the medication within 48 hours of a person showing the symptoms.

State officials said therefore, that there needs to be widespread awareness among doctors, and patients should not resort to self-medication or waste time in getting the right treatment.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:38:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/only-34-test-positive-for-swine-flu-in-state-so-far-this-year/article24256807.ece

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