With every passing month, the state is appearing to be in a tighter grip of the H1N1 virus. Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan is also down with H1N1 infection. Till 6th August, total 3,750 cases and 381 deaths have been reported in Maharashtra. In last year’s comparison, there is a drastic rise in the outbreak of H1N1 infection. The year 2016, is called as silent year by the health officials, as throughout the year, there were 82 infection cases and 26 deaths due to H1N1 influenza.
Dr Pradeep Awate, State surveillance officer explained the probable reason behind the major swine flu outbreak this. “Swine Flu spreads on the community level and has various strains. Once there is an outbreak in a year, our bodies develop immunity to kill the strain of the virus. It also happens on the community level as well and the immunity developed by the body stays for next 8-10 months. This is the reason, we witness swine flu outbreak, every alternate year,” said Dr Awate.
He added, “In 2015, the state had witnessed a major epidemic of swine flu. “There were 8,583 and 905 deaths due to H1N1 infection in 2015. Year 2016 was a silent year and in this year, we are again witnessing the swine flu outbreak.”
The relative rise than previous year, has made experts suspecting the mutation of the H1N1 virus. “There is a major outbreak than previous year which should not be ignored. There is a possibility that the virus has undergone a mutation and that’s why more people are getting affected by it,” said Dr Vasant Nagvekar Infectious disease expert, Global Hospitals.
With the rising cases of Swine flu in the state, a team of four from National Centre for Communicable Disease Control (NCCDC) had visited the state. The experts had observed a new strain in H1N1 named Michigan.
The number of people screened for swine flu has crossed five lakh. While more than 10000 people were given tamiflu this year in Pune.
Dr Mini Khetarpal, epidemiology in-charge at the BMC informed that the current vaccine for the prevention of Swine of Flu is given for Michigan strain of the H1N1 virus. “Last year vaccine was given for the California strain of the H1N1 virus. Now, it is given for the Michigan strain.
The capital of the state Mumbai has also reported the drastic increase in the number of swine flu cases than last year. In July 2017, there were 413 cases reported while in July 2016, there was only one case of Swine Flu. In June 2017, there were 313 cases. “People are advised to see the doctor immediately in case of high fever for more than 48 hours. People who have diabetes or hypertension should be more careful. After testing positive for H1N1, they should remain in isolation, in order to prevent the spread of the infection,” said Dr Khetarpal.