It was the lull before the storm. After a significant drop last fiscal, the number of deaths from swine flu has shot up by about 800% in the state this year. A total of 113 deaths were registered till November 7 this year compared with the 12 in 2011-12.
Ten people within the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) limits have died since April this year. The Pune Municipal Corporation tops the shame list with 30 swine flu deaths. Close on BMC’s heels is the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, which has registered nine deaths so far this year. The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation has seen four deaths.
Nashik, where 18 residents have died of swine flu, figures among districts with a high death rate.
About 40 people showing symptoms of swine flu were admitted in hospitals around the state till Wednesday this year. Eleven others who tested positive to the deadly disease are still under treatment.
Following a steady rise in the number of deaths from swine flu over the years — hitting peaks of 450 in 2009-10 and 542 in 2010-11, the last fiscal saw a steep plunge — with 12 dying of the disease.
According to the World Health Organisation, seasonal changes prompt sporadic outbreaks of the disease. This, it says, will continue to happen for a couple of years till the virus dies.
Epidemiologist Pradip Awate suspects that the jump in the number of deaths could be a result of medical complications besides swine flu. “There are different strains of influenza virus affecting people and most often, one prominent strain affects an entire community or a majority of people for some period. After a couple of months or years, people develop resistance [to that strain of virus]. But this is short-lived, as some other strain of the virus starts affecting people thereafter.”
The symptoms of seasonal and pandemic swine flu, or the H1N1 influenza, include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. Some may even suffer from bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea; others, meanwhile, may display respiratory symptoms without a fever.