Swine flu cases on a rise, centre team in state to study the cause

With the rising cases of Swine flu, a team of four from National Centre for Communicable Disease Control have come to Maharashtra to study the reasons behind swine flu deaths and has suggested guidelines. Since January, Maharashtra witnessed 268 swine flu deaths. Doctors observe a new strain called the Michigan strain has been isolated in the state

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With the rising cases of Swine flu in the state, a team of four from National Centre for Communicable Disease Control (NCCDC) is present in the state to study the reasons behind the swine flu deaths and suggest guidelines.

So far, since January, Maharashtra has witnessed 268 swine flu deaths. “The team has been on rounds in Thane, Mumbai and other parts of the state where the registered number of swine flu cases are more. They are here to study the Swine flu mortality reasons and to supervise our action plan,” said Dr Subhash Salunke, chairman of the state health department’s communicable disease committee.

The state health ministry had also held a Swine flu review meeting on June 29, where they discussed the need to spread awareness on vaccination. “During the meeting, which was also attended by the team from NCCDC, we agreed the need to spread awareness on vaccination. People falling under high risk category because of diabetes, hypertension, pregnant women, senior citizen, people whose immunity is compromised, should get the influenza vaccine shot,” added Dr Salunke.

He said so far, since the 2009 swine flu pandemic in the country, the California strain has been doing the rounds. But, now a new strain has been identified in the country. “A new strain called the Michigan strain has been isolated in the state. That’s why we are seeing more people falling prey to it. The new vaccination should help in protecting the people in high risk group. Also, we want general physicians to identify swine flu symptoms at the earliest and begin the treatment,” said Dr Salunke.

While most cases have been recorded at Pune, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Aurangabad, Pune region has seen the highest number of swine flu deaths (62) so far. Doctors say complaints of fever, stomach ache, cold and cough should be considered for swine flu diagnosis and self-medication should be strictly avoided.

Swine flu signs and symptoms in humans are similar to those of other flu strains:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting

 Swine flu symptoms develop about one to three days after you’re exposed to the virus and continue for about seven days.

Dos and Don’ts

Follow cough hygiene. Cover mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze

Wash your hands with soap or use sanitiser

Avoid toughing your nose, eyes and mouth

Drink plenty of water and have nutritious food

Have 8 hours of sleep

Avoid handshakes/contact greetings

Don’t spit in open

Avoid self-medication

What causes Swine Flu?

Swine flu or H1N1 is part of the influenza, a family of viruses. Influenza viruses infect the cells lining your nose, throat and lungs. The virus enters your body when you inhale contaminated droplets or transfer live virus from a contaminated surface to your eyes, nose or mouth. Though H1N1 is called swine flu, you can’t catch swine flu from eating pork.