As per data received from state’s health department, Maharashtra has seen a steep rise in swine flu cases with 46 deaths between January and March this year.
Nashik, Ahmednagar and Pimpri-Chinchwad are severely affected areas of the state. Last week, 14 cases were reported in Nashik district and 31 in Pimpri-Chinchwad. Private clinic and hospitals too said they are witnessing sudden rise in number of swine flu patients.
“In 2017, 206 swine flu cases are reported, of which nearly 150 are reported in March. There have been 46 swine flu deaths in the state this year, in which 30 deaths are reported in March,” said Dr Pradip Awate, State Surveillance Officer.
Reportedly, two deaths have been reported in Shrirampur and Ahmednagar each, three in Nashik and five in Pimpri-Chinchwad in last one week.
“This is the normal pattern of swine flu. Last year, we didn’t see many swine flu cases, but this year, climatic change has contributed to rise in swine flu cases in this belt. Maximum temperatures have seen a threefold rise, which is an ideal weather for viruses to flourish,” added Awate.
“Since 2009, every alternate year, we have seen spike in swine flu cases. Yesterday we had a meeting with the guardian minister and collector. We have enough quotas of medicines as of now, and our priority is to supply Tamiflu tablets to rural areas so that patients do not have to travel till the city hospitals,” said Dr CS Jagdale, Civil Surgeon, Nashik.
As swine flu has similar symptoms like normal influenza, Jagdale said they are constantly in touch with private clinics and hospitals to know about suspected swine flu cases.
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. H1N1 is harboured in pigs and spreads to human beings through animal – human being interaction. Swine flu symptoms develop about one to three days after you’re exposed to the virus and continue for about seven days.
Swine flu signs and symptoms in humans are similar to those of other flu strains:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches