Swine flu claims 212 lives across state till September 15

Mumbai: Fifteen people have succumbed to swine flu across the state in the last fortnight, taking the total to 212 and as many as 2,207 people have tested positive for H1N1 so far this year.

Last year, the disease claimed 462 lives and 2,594 cases were reported. Though the number of deaths has declined this year, three more are still months to go.

According to the statistics from the Directorate of Heath Service, since January 1, every month, 23 people have been dying of H1N1. “Since the beginning of the year, we have recorded as many as 2,207 cases.

In the last three months, due to sudden changes in the weather, the number has risen. Till June, on average, we got 3-4 cases each day but lately, we have been getting 10 cases daily,” said an official.

Experts said the diminished public immunity and co-circulation of other seasonal viruses were among the contributive factors. The wide fluctuation in day and night temperatures is providing a fitting atmosphere for the virus to spread.

Minute changes in the temperature affect the transmission dynamics of a virus. When the temperature is low, the virus remains suspended in the air and this leads to a rise in swine flu cases,” said Abhay Chowdhary, the former director of Haffkine Institute, Parel.

Dr Pradeep Awate, head of the infectious diseases department, Maharashtra, said to curb the rising incidents of flu in Maharashtra, there is an increased focus on pregnant women, diabetics and hypertensive patients.

They are being vaccinated. “From January 1 to September 15, around 51,989 people were vaccinated. But people should also take personal preventive measures and visit a doctor if they have fever for more than three days,” he added.

Around 21 lakh patients have been examined and tested for swine flu. Of them, 34,611 patients were suspected to have swine flu and were administered Tamiflu tablets. However, 1,906 patients have been treated and discharged, while 90 people are currently being treated at hospitals across the state.

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