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Pune hoping for herd immunity against swine flu

As Pune has the largest number of swine flu victims,health authorities are waiting for the findings of a research undertaken by NIV on herd immunity.

Written by Agencies | Pune |
October 31, 2009 10:14:50 am

With the city earning the dubious distinction of having the largest number of swine flu victims in the country,a heavily burdened health care apparatus is banking on development of herd immunity to combat the pandemic.

Confronted with an unrelenting spread of the virus in urban,semi-urban and rural areas in and around Pune which claimed its first swine flu fatality on August 3,the state health authorities are eagerly awaiting the findings of a research undertaken by National Institute of Virology (NIV) here on herd immunity.

While NIV,the sole designated agency for testing the H1N1 infection,has not come out with any official word on its survey,health department sources said the findings appear to be encouraging.

“We understand that as per the ongoing NIV survey on herd immunity—–the community’s building up resistance against the pandemic—about 15 to 20 per cent of population in Pune is likely to have developed H1N1 antibodies,” R R Pardeshi,the civic medical officer entrusted with monitoring of swine flu,said.

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The NIV research on the prospects of Pune developing herd immunity is believed to have covered a cross section of the society including students and slum dwellers from whom serological samples have been taken.

The findings,if they endorse the view on development of a possible herd immunity to a population over 40 lakh,would offer some relief to a hard pressed health machinery,currently under a greater psychological pressure with speculations on a more severe second wave of H1N1 pandemic.

But notwithstanding the projections which at present look largely academic in the absence of any concrete declared proof on herd immunity,the city continues to report Swine flu deaths at a regular interval and registration of fresh positive cases on daily basis.

The mortality rate due to the virus is still causing concern despite the management of cases with administration of standard Tamiflu treatment.

Out of a total of 197 Swine flu victims in Maharashtra of date,as many as 93 casualties are from Pune where the number of admissions of critical H1N1 infected patients to ICUs at various civic,government and private hospitals,needing ventilation support,continues to be significant.

A health department source said even if herd immunity develops among the population,its percentage has to touch 60 mark for the pandemic to peter out. Unless and until that happens,it is expected to run its course and none can afford to be off guard.

📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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