Swine flu claims 14 lives this month

Namrata Devikar
Tuesday, 29 January 2019

No deaths were reported in January last year

Pune: In all, 14 deaths due to swine flu have been reported in Maharashtra this year till January 28. In all, 2,594 patients tested positive for the disease while 462 were claimed by the infection in 2018. Of these, the highest number of cases was reported from Pune and its rural areas, followed by Nashik district in the State.

Four deaths have been reported in Nagpur, two each in Pune and Kolhapur while one each in Ahmednagar, Amravati and Sindhudurg in 2019.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Pradeep Awate, State Surveillance Officer with the State Health Department, said no deaths were reported in January last year.

He added, “There are usually two surges of swine flu cases. Cases rise in the post-monsoon months while there are comparatively fewer cases in the winter. In January 2018, not a single death was reported due to the infection but this year, deaths have been reported from across the country.”

He added that last year, Pune district witnessed the maximum deaths due to swine flu across the State.
“Nashik was followed by Pune district in the number of swine flu deaths. There was a significant number of deaths in Satara, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Solapur and Nagpur last year too,” said Dr Awate.

He highlighted that being airborne, the H1N1 virus survives in the city’s weather throughout the year.
Cities such as Pune and Nashik have moderate weather, where humidity is not very high, unlike Mumbai. Also, throughout the year, there is pleasant weather for the deadly virus to survive, said Dr Awate.

Talking about the growing number of deaths in these two cities, Awate said that the facilities in these cities are also accessible.

“Many patients from rural areas tend to visit Pune for medical help as the city has the necessary medical infrastructure. Also, the State Health Department has targeted high-risk patients such as pregnant women, doctors who treat H1N1 patients and patients with diabetes to give them vaccines to prevent any more deaths. In 2018, around 1.28 lakh vaccines were given for swine flu in the State,” added Dr Awate.

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