The cases related to the swine flu have increased by 38.63 per cent until October compared to last year. According to the data, there were 44 cases of H1N1 in 2020 which has now increased to 61 until October. Health officials said there is no doubt that cases of H1N1 and H3N2 have increased in the city. But experts have advised doctors to think of H1N1 if a patient doesn’t respond to Covid-19 treatment.
Senior doctors from civic-run hospitals said they have come across many patients exhibiting the 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.
Last month, a doctor from KEM Hospital said that 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.
Senior doctors from the civic-run hospitals said they have seen three cases of swine flu and two cases of H3N2, also a subtype of influenza A this year. Moreover, recently a patient who recovered from Covid-19 tested positive for H1N1.
“I have recently treated two patients who presented with cold, fever and headache. One of the patients, in his 30s, had recently recovered from Covid-19. Since it is rare for a patient to get a Covid-19 re-infection within 90 days, he was suggested to take an H1N1 test. The result of the test came positive,” said a doctor.
Infectious diseases expert Om Shrivastav said influenza A is the most 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.
Dr Pinak Pandya, Consultant, department of Critical Care Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, said for the past two to four months there has been a rise in new variants of H1N1 in China. As per researchers, the new variant is different and the disadvantage is that this new variant is initially mild and many remain asymptomatic so initial studies in pigs have shown that it doesn’t get detected until it has infected a majority of the herd.
“In Mumbai we have still not seen presentation of the new mutated variant of H1N1 in any patients but the overall swine flu cases have increased from the past one-and-a-half-year. Importantly, care should be taken if anyone is showing respiratory symptoms , cough, breathlessness, joint pain, vomiting even if you tested negative for Covid19 and consult your physician immediately if symptoms persist,” he said.
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