Guwahati under Serious Threat of Swine Flu Breakout
The state health & family welfare department has issued advisory for swine flu (H1N1 virus), the cases of which have seen a steady rise over the past two months, informed officials.
Authorities at the health & family welfare department informed that a total of 15 cases of swine flu have been registered till now in Kamrup (Metro) district alone.
“We have recorded 14 positive cases of the disease and one death case till now. In the first case which we received (in which the patient had died), the person had travelled to Shillong and we are suspecting the patient carried the virus from there,” informed Kabita Devi, an official at the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) in Guwahati.
She added that travel history plays an important part in the detection of the disease as most people get the disease from other states.
“There is travel history in at least three cases. However, all patients have mostly recovered barring three cases who are currently undergoing treatment in different hospitals,” Devi told G Plus.
Apart from Guwahati, the cases of swine flu are continually increasing across the state too. In addition to Guwahati, patients affected by the H1N1 virus have also been reported from Nalbari, Karbi Anglong, Baksa and other districts of the state.
Dr Sadhan Das, internal medicine specialist at Apollo Hospitals Guwahati, told G Plus that the present scenario of the disease in the state was “unexpected” since it is now being detected even among people who haven’t travelled in the recent past.
“It means that we are having the virus here in Guwahati now,” he said.
Swine flu is an air-borne infection which is caused by a virus called H1N1. It can spread from person to person and is caused when people come in direct or indirect contact with tiny drops of the virus which are spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by a person infected with the virus. It is also spread through touching a contaminated surface or by coming in close contact with an infected person.
The disease originated in pigs and is hence called “swine flu” since pigs can also get this virus.
Currently, the swine flu tests from across Assam are being conducted at two places in the state including the Guwahati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH) and Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) in Dibrugarh.
Guidelines issued to all hospitals
Authorities informed that since a large number of cases haven’t been recorded for swine flu in Guwahati, people should not panic, but they must keep an eye on the symptoms.
Medical superintendent of Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH), Ramen Talukdar, informed G Plus that precautionary guidelines have been issued to all hospitals.
“All hospitals have been told that not all cases of swine flu need to be admitted. Further, persons suffering from minor flu-like conditions like a little bit of headache with mild fever and without body ache need not undergo testing for swine flu,” said Talukdar.
He added that people showing symptoms like respiratory distress, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, belong to the ‘C’ category and should be tested for the H1N1 virus.
In the same vein, the district health authorities, too, have begun taking prevention steps to control the spread of the air-borne disease.
Joint director of health services of Kamrup (Metro), Ganesh Saikia, mentioned, “We are already taking a number of preventive measures for the disease including creating awareness for swine flu. We are hoping that the number of positive cases for H1N1 will come down in the future.”
Some of the precautions which are advised for prevention of transmission of the virus include covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding touching nose, eyes or mouth. Further, doctors say that one must not come in close contact with people who display flu-like symptoms.
The virus has also taken its toll across the county with at least 377 swine flu deaths being reported from across India. Further, the number of persons infected with the disease is over 12,000.
Rajasthan recorded the highest number of cases in the country with 3,508 cases and 127 deaths followed by Gujarat which registered 1,983 positive cases and 71 deaths.
Keeping in mind the data coming in from the rest of country, the health ministry has ordered all state governments to take measures for early detection of the disease.