Mumbai: City witnessing surge in H1N1 cases along with influenza cases

The symptoms of H1N1 include fever, lethargy, sneezing, coughing, difficulty in breathing and a decreased appetite

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Thursday, July 14, 2022, 09:53 PM IST
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City doctors are now witnessing a surge in H1N1 cases along with influenza cases over the last two weeks. Swine flu infection or H1N1 influenza is primarily found in pigs. The symptoms include fever, lethargy, sneezing, coughing, difficulty in breathing and a decreased appetite. The senior health officer said cases of influenza and other respiratory viruses, such as the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and H1N1 (swine flu) are now being seen more frequently.

“We are seeing an upward trend in H1N1 cases, particularly in the last 15 days. The majority are mild symptomatic but don't not need hospital admissions. Daily at least one patient is testing positive,” said Dr Kishore Sathe, Specialist Emergency Medicine, P.D. Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre.

According to the BMC data, there were only two cases of H1N1 across the city in June, but now there are three cases reported in the first 10 days of July.

Dr Manjusha Agarwal, senior consultant-internal medicine at Global Hospital, Parel said, since the last few weeks they are seeing many patients with symptoms of high-grade fever, sore throat, cough and cold. Mostly these patients when tested for Covid turned out to be negative. Some of these patients when tested for Swine Flu have tested positive. Many patients do not want to undergo testing for swine flu due to cost factors and are prefering empirical treatment. The majority of patients got better immediately when appropriate antiviral therapy was given.

“Along with patients, it’s important that general practitioners should be aware of this non-COVID flu so that there is no delay in treatment. We have not seen any complications of swine flu-like ARDS which was a dreaded complication during the 2010-12 wave. Vaccination of all elderly people beyond 65 years of age with comorbidities, younger susceptible populations with influenza vaccination is imperative,” she said.

Senior doctors from the civic-run hospital said, "they have come across many cases who are down with these symptoms and most of them are testing positive for influenza A." While last year there were hardly any cases of swine flu or influenza, city doctors say this year apart from the rise, they are also seeing a high rate of infection.

“In the past one month, we have seen 7 to 8 cases and most of them have symptoms similar to COVID-19 like fever, cough, sore throat. If I test 10 people with these symptoms, the majority are turning positive for influenza and Swine Flu,” said a doctor from the KEM hospital.

With swine flu tests costing around Rs 4000, doctors said diagnosis is based on clinical parameters and not on lab testing. "We tend to treat them based on clinical presentation and they are responding to the treatment. Swine flu tests are costly. We first rule out Covid-19 and other causes of fever like malaria, dengue," said Dr Subodh Kedia, general physician, practising in Bandra-East.

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