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Maha rise in H1N1 deaths; experts say more cases are being reported

Mumbai The state has seen a rise in H1N1 deaths, 239 till October this year, compared to 216 during the corresponding period last year, according to data from the Directorate Health Service (DHS). Between January 1 and March 15, the state saw 812 cases, with 55 deaths. In the past 10 months, 2,500 cases of swine flu have been recorded in the state. In 2018, a total of 462 deaths were registered among 2,594 diagnosed patients in the state.

Health officials said the rising number of deaths was owing to better detection and diagnosis. “More patients are coming forward for treatment. This has helped us create a centralised system with all records. Because of better reporting, we are able to keep a track of deaths,” said a senior officer from DHS.

H1N1-related mortality is a result of severe lower respiratory tract infections and bacterial pneumonia. Both are commonly seen in people with underlying chronic cardio-respiratory diseases. In rare cases, swine flu affects the central nervous system or other organ system adding to mortality.

“According to the WHO, to prevent swine flu, trivalent quadrivalent intramuscular vaccine should be given to susceptible people before the onset of monsoon. Prompt testing and immediate medical attention in case of symptoms are key to avoiding complications,” said Dr Harshad Limaye, consultant, internal medicine and infectious diseases, Nanavati Max Super Specialty Hospital.

“The symptoms of swine flu are similar to seasonal infections. Patients often take medicines over the counter without consulting doctors. They reach hospitals only when their condition deteriorates,” said Dr Om Shrivastava, infectious diseases specialist.

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