Updated on: Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 11:18 PM IST

Mumbai: Not responding to Covid treatment? Docs say check for swine flu


Swapnil Mishra

Doctors in Mumbai have reported a rise in cases of swine flu – influenza A (H1N1) – and its variant, H3N2. As swine flu and Covid-19 have a similar disease presentation, infectious disease experts have advised doctors to think of H1N1 if a patient doesn’t respond to Covid-19 treatment.

The spurt in swine flu cases is also indicated in the data provided by the public health department of the BMC. As per the BMC report, 18 cases have been reported in July compared to six cases in June.

Senior doctors from civic-run hospitals said they have come across many patients exhibiting these symptoms and most of them are testing positive for influenza A. They said last year there were hardly any cases of swine flu or influenza.

A doctor from KEM Hospital said in the past one month, seven to eight patients have shown symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat, similar to Covid-19. “If I test 10 people with these symptoms, the majority are turning positive for influenza and swine flu,” the doctor said. Another doctor said there are cases of other viral infections and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), too. “Doctors should keep this in mind, especially when a patient is not responding to Covid treatment,” he said.

Infectious diseases expert Om Shrivastav said influenza A is the dominant infection currently. “H1N1 and Covid-19 are from the same family. Rt-PCR cannot differentiate between any of them. Any diagnosis is based on clinical parameters and not lab testing,” he said.

Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said the current number of swine flu cases is not beyond the control of medical experts, but the civic body is expecting that monsoon ailments will rise in the next two months. He said the BMC is taking preventive steps and is trying to raise awareness about water-borne diseases and related precautions.

“All efforts taken by the health and insecticide department have yielded good results. We carried out sanitation and fumigation work at a large scale. We also oiled stagnant water bodies to destroy the breeding ground of mosquitoes,” Kakani said.

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Published on: Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 11:19 PM IST