With rising temperatures, swine flu cases — which crossed the 4,000 mark this year in the capital— seem to have subsided. On Saturday, only five patients tested positive for the H1N1 virus out of a total nine patients.
Dr Charan Singh, nodal officer for swine flu in the Health department, said, “Every year, with a rise in temperatures, the virus tends to recede. This is why we are seeing fewer cases now. Cases would have come down in February, but we continued to see cases due to the unseasonal rain.”
Since January 1 this year, 4,266 patients tested positive for the virus in Delhi with 1,500 being reported last month. Twelve deaths have been reported from the capital, including that two pregnant women and one child.
Health officials said arrangements for swine flu, including treatment and diagnostic facilities, will be kept functional till the cases subside completely. “Isolation wards are ordinarily closed from April-May, but this time they will be kept open. Doctors are expected to continue treatment guidelines of category A, B and C patients,” an official said. The nodal officer said in almost all of the cases, patients were suffering from co-morbid conditions — especially heart and respiratory diseases and diabetes.
This year also saw the highest number of deaths and the number of cases reported in the last 6-7 years, officials at the Union Health Ministry said. It claimed the lives of close to 2,200 people and affected another 35,000. While 981 deaths were reported along with 27,236 cases of swine flu in 2009, the disease claimed the lives of 1,763 people in 2010 and affected around 21,000 people. In 2011, 603 cases were reported and the disease claimed 75 lives while, in 2012 there were 5,044 cases and 405 deaths. Swine flu claimed 699 lives and affected 5,253 people in 2013. In 2014, 937 cases were reported and 218 deaths were caused by the virus.
Advising people not to “panic”, Singh said, “H1N1 is a self-limiting disease and if treated in the early stages, there are less chances of complications. There is no reason to panic as most of the cases being reported are of seasonal flu. People should just maintain routine hygiene.” The Health department had authorised all private hospitals with over 50 beds and equipped with ventilators to treat swine flu patients. The new guidelines had brought in 122 more private hospitals to treat H1N1 patients, along with 19 government and seven private hospitals that had earlier been designated as authorised centres.