Death toll due to swine flu rises, government issues guidelines

Southern states Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are worst affected

By Jyotsna Singh
Published: Monday 05 January 2015

Swine flu fatality in India has risen to 21 per cent now as compared to 13 per cent in 2013 and 8 per cent in 2012 (file photo, Meeta Ahlawat)

With fresh cases of swine flu, one each from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Delhi, the total cases of for this season stands at 88. Though no fresh casualties due to the flu have been confirmed yet, it is suspected that eight to 10 people, mainly in the two southern states, have died so far.

However, two deaths have been reported from Delhi as well. While the one that occurred on December 24 was confirmed by the health ministry’s National Centre for Disease Control, the death of a woman in Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on Friday has been confirmed by private laboratory Dr Lal Pathlabs. She had died after a multiple organ failure. 

According to official data, Delhi has had 43 confirmed cases of swine flu this season, five of them reported since January 1. Two of them have been confirmed by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) while the others were confirmed by private laboratory Dr Lal Pathlabs.

Awareness can curb its spread

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has issued guidelines for public to assess and respond to the flu conditions. It has said that swine flu has not taken epidemic proportions yet, unlike last year. In last winter season, Delhi alone reported 16 deaths. However, IMA said that rise in cases in the last three weeks calls for immediate attention.

In its public statement, prepared by a committee of experts, IMA said that symptoms of swine flu are similar to ordinary flu like fever, cough, sore throat, body ache etc. It, however, noted that patients who have fever with coryza, i.e inflammation of mucous membrane, and breathlessness should be kept in isolation and investigated for influenza.

“We recommend everyone should take vaccine for ordinary influenza. It will not prevent swine flu, but will reduce its severity,” said K K Aggarwal, Honorary Secretary General, IMA, and member of the expert committee.

 But a doctor from pulmonary medicine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences said that as swine flu is contagious, it can spread fast.

“Swine flu is air borne. Even the sneeze of a patient can infect the others. Proper arrangements should be made immediately,” he said, requesting anonymity.


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