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Topic - H1N1 virus more virulent this year
Posted: February 14 2017 at 8:40am By arirish
H1N1 virus more virulent this year, severely affects people aged over 40

COIMBATORE: Even as the health department continues to downplay the deaths due to the H1N1 virus, officials admitted that the seasonal flu has been more virulent this year. Dr K Kolandaisamy, director of public health, said the virus is affecting patients above the age of 40 more severely than last year. Many of these patients, after getting infected, have been contracting pneumonia, as a result of which they condition rapidly deteriorates.

"The H1N1 virus, like all other viruses, has its strains changing or mutating every year," said Dr Kolandaisamy. "This year, people above the age of 40 have been badly affected," he said. This comes after reports that the disease, which starts off as a sore throat and fever in patients, progresses to severe pneumonia in hardly three days even in patients who do not suffer from other complications. "However, the good news is that it is not affecting pregnant women too severely, unlike in 2009-10 when many women in Kerala died," he said.

Though there have been more than seven deaths purely due to the H1N1 virus in the government hospital alone, the public health department insisted that there have been only three deaths due to the virus. Speaking at a H1N1 virus prevention event at PSG Tech, Dr Kolandaisamy said, "There have been only three deaths in Coimbatore and Tirupur due to the H1N1 virus, but there have been other deaths due to comorbid conditions like renal failure and uncontrolled sugar. Those patients may have also tested positive for the virus".

The director admitted that around two to three patients have been testing positive for the virus every day since the end of December. "Around 30% of them are category C patients, or those with other comorbid conditions, be it senior citizens or pregnant women," said Dr Kolandaisamy. "These are the patients to be worried about as the H1N1 virus worsens their other problems. These patients have to ensure their sugar, blood pressure and other health issues are under control," he said.