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Swine Flu Mutating to Hit in Summers

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arirish View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 06 2017 at 9:01pm
171 Dead in Maharashtra: Is Swine Flu Mutating to Hit in Summers?

Rise of the Virus in April Is Unprecedented

The H1N1 influenza that first created mayhem in 2009 may no longer hold everyone’s attention, but swine flu is nowhere near gone. However, the more worrying part is how the pandemic flu has struck in the summer months, moving away from its trend of spreading in winters.

The most alarming numbers have come in from Maharashtra where 865 cases have been reported between 1 January to 3 May. 171 people have died of the deadly virus in the state, and only 11 of these deaths occurred in the winter, between January-February.

In comparison, only 11 cases of swine flu were reported in April 2015 when there was an outbreak in the country. In the same year, 59 tested positive in January. The number rose to 1,366 in February and fell to 611 in March.

The virus did not have a significant effect in 2016, with only sporadic cases having been reported. In 2016, flu cases were reported in the winter, with 52 in January, 56 in in February, six in March and only three in April.

The geographical spread of the disease is vast right now, with cases springing up in Kerala, Telangana, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Maharashtra, Jaipur as well as in Delhi. Rural and urban areas are equally affected.

On 28 April, an 18-month-old child became the first casualty of swine flu in Mumbai in the last two years. Though the number of cases are sporadic, most of the deaths in Maharashtra have occurred in Pune, Nasik and Aurangabad.

In the last four months, the influenza has claimed 23 lives in Kerala and more than 300 cases have been reported so far. This is higher than the total number of casualties and cases reported last year.

State nodal officer for H1N1, Amar Fettle said the increase in number of swine flu cases was not specific to Kerala alone, but to all southern states.
Why the Seasonal Shift?

Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. It infects the respiratory tract and can be transmitted easily through the air, skin, saliva and contaminated surfaces.

When it first broke out in 2009, it took a while study the disease and find out what treatment works for different sub-groups. The first two seasons recorded high death rates. When severity is high, medicines don’t generally work in the case of such viruses. Therefore, early testing and treating for swine flu is what brought down the numbers in the consequent years.

Now that the cases are cropping up in the summer months, there seems to be a change in the virus.

Speaking to The Quint, Dr Sumit Ray, Critical Care Medicine, from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said:

    This shift may be because of a mutation in the virus. Influenza viruses change with time and there is a possibility that’s what happened in this case.

This may affect how vaccination is given to high-risk groups such as people with diabetes, hypertension and asthma, patients of cancer and HIV, pregnant women, children and healthcare providers. Vaccines till now were administered pre-winters and they wear off with time.
What Measures Are Being Taken?

In Maharashtra, Dr Awate said the government has released advisories in affected areas especially for high-risk groups.

    We’re issuing guidelines, especially in affected areas like Nashik, Pune and Aurangabad and for high-risk groups. We’re also conducting workshops for officials and have administered vaccines to more than 27,000 people.

Dr Pradeep Awate, State Surveillance Officer, Maharashtra

In Kerala, Fettle said, necessary steps had been taken to check the spread of the flu.

    All government hospitals, including primary health centres, have been equipped with enough quantity of medicines and guidelines issued with regard to the treatment.

He added that a programme to sensitise and create awareness about various aspects of the disease is already on in government hospitals.

People affected with common cold and fever have also been advised to seek medical attention, stay at home and take plenty of hot and nourishing fluids.
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EdwinSm, View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 06 2017 at 10:05pm
This "summer" thing has come up in quite a few posts now.... sounding like it is getting well accepted to the hot weather.Unhappy
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carbon20 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 14 2017 at 2:41pm
just like  H7N9......

i too have been keeping watch on h1n1,its getting legs ,and evolving ,

i cant wait to see what happens when ,


we could call it "the Borg virus"
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.🖖

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