Swine flu has claimed 191 lives in the country in January alone with Telangana reporting the highest number of cases of people afflicted with the H1N1 virus followed by Delhi, the government said today. The total number of cases of swine flu coming to light across India in January stood at 2,038.
It’s everywhere. Rajasthan has been among the worst swine flu-hit states along with Telangana, where two more died of the disease on Monday in Hyderabad and took the toll of the disease to 35 since January 1.
And even ministers aren’t spared. Rajasthan home minister Gulab Chand Kataria on Monday tested positive for swine flu, a day after it was confirmed that former chief minister Ashok Gehlot was down with the disease. In Andhra Pradesh, Araku MP Kothapalli Geetha tested positive for swine flu. The MP is currently undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Visakhapatnam, where her condition was stable.
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Faced with a sudden spurt of swine flu cases in Hyderabad resulting in more than 30 confirmed positive cases including six deaths in December, government and private health experts are now advising high risk category people to go in for trivalent flu vaccine shots as a preventive measure. The city reported two fresh positive cases on the first day of the New Year on Thursday.
People suffering from diabetes, children below 5 years and the elderly above 60 years, post transplant patients, chronic kidney patients, pregnant and post-partum women have been identified as high risk. “As a preventive measure it is advisable that those suffering from chronic diseases including pregnant women take flu vaccines as they are considered vulnerable to H1N1 virus but not everybody needs it,” said Dr P Sambasiva Rao, director of health, Telangana state. While maintaining that there was no need for panic Rao added that high risk groups would have to buy the trivalent flu vaccines in the market as the government does not provide the same since the latest incidence is not an epidemic. Presently the trivalent vaccine available in the market is said to be effective against three strains of flu virus responsible for causing both H1N1 and the seasonal flu (H3N2 strain).
And the government has announced plans to stock up on 60,000 capsules of anti-swine flu drug Oseltamivir. The Scheduled X drug is being prescribed via notified health facilities after blood test samples confirm swine flu. Within a few days, a public media campaign will announce hospitals for swine flu management across India.