AT LEAST one in two patients tested positive for swine flu during the 2015 outbreak in the national capital had one or more co-existing medical conditions, a study has revealed.
The study, conducted by the Sir Gangaram Hospital, has found that 52.9 per cent of the 151 patients analysed “had one or more co-existing medical conditions” and mortality was found in 8 per cent of the patients. The study also reveals that hypertension, diabetes and chronic pulmonary disease were the most common co-existing conditions. At least 25.8 per cent of the patients tested positive for swine flu had hypertension, while 23 per cent had diabetes.
“Mortality was high among the elderly, those with high WBC count and those who had high liver enzyme levels. Hence, patients with simple chest congestion need to get their blood count tested,” said Dr Atul Gogia, senior consultant, department of medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and investigator of the study.
“The virus replicates at optimal levels during winters. But a person who is migrating can carry the virus throughout the year. The virus can be transmitted any time of the year in densely populated cities or overcrowded public places,” Dr Gogia added.
H1N1 virus is mainly transmitted through dissemination of large droplets expelled when an infected person coughs. Fomites could also be a potential transmitter.
“The study reveals that if in case one is old and has problems like diabetes and hypertension, one needs to be careful. Even influenza is a warning sign for this group of patients. Blood sugar levels, liver enzymes and the functioning of kidney — monitoring these indicators is of prime importance,” Dr Atul Kakar, senior consultant, department of medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, who was also part of the team conducting the study.