Mumbai has reported 80 swine flu (H1N1) cases since August 1, compared to 105 in July. As per the BMC data, the city is witnessing 11-12 cases every day.
Meanwhile, 119 cases of gastroenteritis and 218 malaria cases have also been reported in the past eight days. Officials said that swine flu follows a cyclic pattern and has typically hit the city every other year. Meanwhile, doctors said differentiating between Covid-19 and H1N1 in the initial days can be challenging.
A senior health officer from the civic health department said weather fluctuations have led to the surge in swine flu cases, with most populated areas of the city witnessing more cases. “Areas such as Andheri have 17 cases of H1N1, Parel (12), Grant Road (11), Matunga (nine), and Dadar (seven), which means these areas have witnessed more than 50 per cent of swine flu cases reported in the last seven days.
The officer said, “The majority of cases are with mild symptoms of sore throat and cough. Only elderly patients with multiple comorbid conditions are in need of hospitalisation, including ICU. Fortunately, we have oseltamivir-like drugs to take care of H1N1, so it’s easy to contain the spread.”
Dr Hemlata Arora, a senior consultant for internal medicine and infectious diseases at Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, said at present they have nearly 10 patients with swine flu. She said high-grade fever and exhaustion are the most common symptoms of influenza. “There is certainly an overlap between the symptoms of Covid-19 and other mosquito-borne diseases, but the severity of and the involvement of upper respiratory infections with malaise help us accurately diagnose and treat the illness,” she said.
She added that the influenza virus has remained highly infectious since the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The current strain is as infectious, if not more, she said. “Due to the presence of multiple influenza strains, a different strain emerges as the dominant one each year. It is important to take into account these changes in strain types and subtypes when developing vaccines to ensure maximum efficacy,” she added.
Dr Sanjith Saseedharan, consultant and head of critical care at SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim-A Fortis Associate, said that there have been a few cases where patients have required respiratory support, including ventilation, and were admitted to the ICU. Elderly people with comorbidities are prone to the severe form of the disease, he said.