In the first 12 days in the month of August, Maharashtra reported almost 900 new cases of swine flu with 23 fatalities linked to the infection. This is almost a 162 per cent increase over the total swine flu cases and toll, 552 and 20 respectively, which the state had reported since the beginning of the year till July 31.
With the massive uptick in cases this month, the state has so far reported a total of 1,449 cases and 43 deaths, with Pune, Kolhapur and Nashik recording the most number of fatalities.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has instructed public health officers to take adequate steps to contain further spread of the infection.
Areas under the Pune Municipal Corporation detected 361 patients with swine flu, of which 11 succumbed to it, the highest toll in the state due to the infection. This was followed by Kolhapur, where nine have died out of the 102 detected cases. In Nashik, six patients have died out of the 127 identified patients.
In 2020, the state witnessed 129 swine flu cases with three deaths, which surged to 387 cases in 2021, but the number of deaths dropped to two.
Swine flu is an infectious disease caused by the H1N1 virus. This virus spreads through the air. Influenza viruses such as H1N1 infect the cells in the nose, throat, and lungs. The virus enters the body when one inhales contaminated droplets or transfers the live virus from a contaminated surface to the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Dr Tushar Rane, internal medicine expert of Apollo Spectra Hospital, said, “Symptoms of swine flu include chills, fever, sore throat, body aches, headache, stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting. The complications can be pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, or bronchitis. In view of the rising number of patients, it is necessary to take care of those with co-morbidities such as diabetes and heart disease. If the fever lasts longer, consult a specialist.” A public health official informed that over 10 lakh patients have been screened as of August 12. Nearly 8,000 suspected flu patients were treated with Oseltamivir, a drug recommended both for prophylaxis and treatment of influenza.