Written by Dar Ovas
THE DEATH of two people at PGIMER due to swine flu in the last two days has set the alarm bells ringing in the UT health department. While H1N1 virus has claimed at least 40 lives in Rajasthan in the last few days, the tricity has remained largely unaffected. The department reported that so far six patients infected with swine flu were reported from Chandigarh this year.
An official of UT health department said, “It is a severe form of seasonal influenza more prevalent in cold weather. The persons infected with this virus can recover with right medical care but it can prove fatal for patients in the high-risk category, who include patients over 65 years of age or below 5 years or those already suffering from any other disease.”
Around 1,100 people were killed by this highly contagious disease in India last year. However, the current wave of flu seems less powerful. Officials of health department told Chandigarh Newsline that six patients have tested positive for swine flu this winter. Last year, four cases of swine flu were reported in Chandigarh and two patients had died. The swine flu was more violent in 2017 when 63 people were tested positive for this flu, and six lost their lives to it.
“There are greater chances of people in the tricity getting infected due to the influx of people from adjoining states. A large number of people also come here for treatment in various hospitals, thereby increasing the risk of spreading this contagion,” a health official said.
Outlining the steps taken by the UT health department, he said advisories have already been sent to hospitals in the city. “We have given training to special teams and awareness talks are being given in dispensaries every day,” he added.
Special teams are being deployed for house-to-house awareness drives. “We have given medicines to those infected with this flue. Their attendants have also been examined to keep the flu from spreading,” he said.
The department is surveying the areas from where swine flu positive cases have been reported. “We are doing an Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) survey in areas where any case is reported. We give medication to anyone found coughing, or sneezing. The antiviral drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are sometimes prescribed to reduce the severity of symptoms, but flu viruses can develop resistance to them.”