As per the latest data received from state’s health department, Maharashtra has seen a steep rise in swine flu cases with 134 deaths between January and April this year. Among this 16 people were from Marathwada region. Whereas 19 people are on ventilators.
The department also informed that Nashik, Pune, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Solapur and Pimpri Chinchwad are the worst affected areas. Last month, 14 cases were reported from Nashik district and 31 from Pimpri-Chinchwad.
“This year so far 206 swine flu cases were reported, of which nearly 150 were reported in March. There have been 134 swine flu deaths till this month,” said Dr Pradip Awate, State Surveillance Officer.
“Due to climatic change we are seeing increase in in swine flu cases. Maximum temperatures have seen a threefold rise, which is an ideal weather for viruses to flourish,” said Awate.
Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. It infects the respiratory tract resulting in barking cough, decreased appetite, and nasal secretions and can be transmitted easily through the air, skin, saliva and contaminated surfaces.
Recently the State Health Minister Dr Deepak Sawant held a video conference with all concerned health officers from the districts.
He said the state is equipped to handle the swine flu cases and has enough medicines for the same. “We have ensured that there is no shortage of medicines to treat swine flu patients in the state. We have stocked enough medicines and if the need arise, we will also take medical advice from private doctors,” said Dr Sawant.
The state has been witnessing fluctuating temperatures which has helped the swine flu virus to remain active. The ministry informed that it has observed 60 per cent of swine flu cases in urban areas and the rest in rural areas. It said the migrating population has been affected the most.
It said their officials are working to bring down the swine flu cases further down by identifying affected areas like Nagpur, Buldhana, Pune, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Latur and are screening people for early diagnosis and treatment.
The ministry said that patients kept on the ventilator will be given extra care and attention, among this diabetic, blood pressure and pregnant women are also under observation.
As per the central government’s guidelines, the test for swine flu in private sector has been capped at Rs 2,500. It has asked the private practitioners to be alert and if a person is having fever, cough and cold for more than 48 hours, to start on swine flu treatment without delay. It has also asked the citizens to be alert and take medical help at the earliest.
Dr Om Shrivastav, consultant for infectious diseases, said the reasons behind these deaths need to be assessed and study.
“There aren’t a great number of swine flu cases in Mumbai. People have succumbed to it in the state. Probably, we need to know what is the risk factor in these people who died. So, if they have underlined illness that makes them more susceptible and if they took treatment what was the interval between the onset of symptoms and treatment, because both are important. Normally if the disease is very accelerating the patient came to know that they need to see a doctor,” he said.
“Also there is been a shift because in 2015 lot of people with high risk got vaccinated but 2016 don’t the what’s the figure of vaccination and about 2017 it’s reflective that people may have not taken vaccine. All these facts need to assessed and what was the risk factors, whether vaccine was done or not,” said Shrivastav.
He advises people to not self-medicate and see the doctor as soon as you observe the symptoms of swine flu.