As October is drawing to a close, an analysis of swine flu cases shows that the number of people affected with the viral infection has not gone down. While 226 people contracted H1N1 infection between June to September, 117 got infected with H1N1 in September alone.
While the numbers were expected to dip after the spurt, it hasn’t happened with 116 H1N1 positive cases getting detected from October 1 to 30 this month. Since April 11, 26 people have died of the complications arising out of swine flu infection.
A recent analysis of deaths by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) showed that people with compromised immunity who were suffering from associated illnesses were more at risk. Twelve deaths occurred in H1N1 patients with underlying medical conditions. However, the delay in reporting for treatment also led to many deaths with seven cases where patients’ conditions deteriorated quickly since they reported to hospitals only after a considerable delay.
“In most cases, swine flu patients do not even require hospitalisation and can get well with medicines, rest and good diet. However, the diagnosis as well as treatment should be sought in an early stage. In many deaths and serious complications, we saw that patients neglected early symptoms and didn’t report to hospitals till conditions worsened like breathlessness etc,” said Dr ST Pardeshi, acting medical officer, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
State epidemologist Dr Pradeep Awate said while it was difficult to predict in which cases, H1N1 would be a simple self limiting illness or if it would lead to serious complications, it was true that people with underlying risks should be more alert as most deaths were reported in this category.
“Those suffering from chronic disease of the lungs or heart, diabetes, hypertension, HIV/AIDS, asthma etc are known to be at greater risk for complications. Even pregnant women, young children and senior citizens are other risk groups and there should be no delay in treatment and anti-virals should be started dearly in such cases,” he said.