At 85 in Jan, swine flu deaths still remain high

Namrata Devikar
Wednesday, 30 January 2019

According to data furnished by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in 2018, the death toll was as high as 1,103 across the country. In 2017, it was 2,270.

Pune: Though the number of swine flu deaths remains high over the years, the overall death toll has decreased. The death count due to the infection this year so far is at 85, while 2,777 patients have tested positive across the country.

According to data furnished by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in 2018, the death toll was as high as 1,103 across the country. In 2017, it was 2,270.

In 2017-18, Maharashtra reported the highest number of swine flu deaths in India. However, State Health Department officials said many swine flu deaths go unreported in big states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as they do not have effective surveillance.

This year, as on January 21, 1,233 patients tested positive in Rajasthan followed by Gujarat, which reported 347 positive swine flu patients.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Dr Pradeep Awate, State Surveillance Officer with the State Health Department said swine flu cases are visible across the country.
 
“However, in Maharashtra, we have a better surveillance system. In states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which are geographically large, annual cases reported are few. This is because swine flu patients are not effectively reported in these states. As we have better surveillance in Maharashtra, the chances of identifying high-risk patients and giving them vaccines prior is the main agenda,” said Dr Awate.
 
According to the State Health Department, Maharashtra has a total of 36 laboratories for testing swine flu patients. “Out of 36 labs, nine are located in Pune circle while 15 are located in Mumbai circle,” Dr Awate said.

“As many patients come to Pune for medical assistance, we also witness the rise in swine flu cases in the city,” added Dr Awate.

Dr Ramchandra Hankare, Chief of Health Department of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) said giving high-risk patients vaccines can help many patients.

“Going to a doctor in a case of basic symptoms and increasing immunity are the best precautions. High-risk patients like senior citizens, pregnant women and children should take swine flu vaccines. Between January 1, 2017, and January 10, 2019, the PMC has given vaccines to 8,811 high-risk patients,” said Dr Hankare.

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