The health department has put out guidelines for differential diagnosis of all fevers after the detection of H1N1 (swine flu) cases in parts of the Union Territory, even as a seasonal influenza outbreak has not yet subsided.
Of the 108 samples tested in the last 24 hours, H1N1 has been confirmed in eight patients, including two children. They are in home isolation. As of September 25, there were seven H1N1 hospital admissions in Puducherry and Karaikal. The patients, all adults, are being treated at JIPMER (2), IGMCRI (1), PIMS (2), NMC (1) and GH Karaikal (1).
“We have given training to PHC staff and issued guidelines for differential diagnosis, testing and treatment of a range of fever symptoms”, G. Sriramulu, Health Director said.
H1N1 testing is at present available in JIPMER and the IGMCRI. Isolation wards have also been set up at government hospitals. In the clinical evaluation of fevers, the co-existence of a spectrum of symptoms such as severe body ache, runny nose, cough, breathlessness, sore throat, chills and fatigue are becoming important markers to distinguish patients requiring PCR testing from the cases common flu.
The health department has stocked sufficient Tamiflu tablets (over 2,000 in stock currently), which is the default choice of treating the viral infection. The treatment is effective against the circulating variants of the H1N1 virus, which is an influenza strain, health officials said.
While there have been no ICU admissions, extra caution is being given to vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and patients with immuno-compromised status due to pre-existing conditions such as cancer or diabetes mellitus, health officials said.
The Health Department has urged the patients to report to the nearest clinic in case of fever. As with COVID-appropriate behaviour, wearing of masks and maintenance of hand hygiene is also being recommended as self-protection measure.
The H1N1 cases have been reported even as a few dengue cases have been diagnosed this season. In the last 24 hours alone, around 11 cases of mosquito-borne dengue have been detected, a health official said.
The health department is coordinating with various line departments for undertaking vector control activities to contain dengue spread, an official said.