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Delhi: Three swine flu cases reported


Delhi: Three swine flu cases reported

Delhi: Two patients at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and one at the neighboring Safdarjung Hospital  have tested positive for swine flu. India recorded over 1,800 deaths during the 2009-10 swine flu pandemic, while the outbreak in 2013 killed at least 600 people.

‘People diagnosed with influenza cases bearing fewer complexities have been reported in the past one month. However, at least two patients have tested positive for swine flu till now,’ Dr Randeep Guleria, head, respiratory department AIIMS, told Mail Today. ‘We have adequate amount of the drug Tamiflu, diagnostic kits and other equipment required for treatment of the disease. Currently, there is nothing to raise worries about an epidemic of the kind seen last year,’ he added.

Swine influenza, also called pig influenza, is an infection caused by any one of several types of swine influenza viruses. The Swine flu was initially seen in humans in Mexico in 2009, where the strand of the particular virus was a marriage of 3 types of strands. In August 2010, the World Health Organization declared the swine flu pandemic officially over.In India, over 31,156 positive test cases and 1,841 deaths due to swine flu were reported up to March 2015.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  the symptoms of the “swine flu” H1N1 virus are similar to those of influenza and of influenza-like illness in general. Symptoms include fever; cough, sore throat, watery eyes, body aches, shortness of breath, headache, weight loss, chills, sneezing, runny nose, coughing, dizziness, abdominal pain, lack of appetite and fatigue.The most common cause of death is respiratory failure. Other causes of death are pneumonia (leading to sepsis),high fever (leading to neurological problems), dehydration (from excessive vomiting and diarrhea), electrolyte imbalance and kidney failure. Fatalities are more likely in young children and the elderly.

Prevention and treatment:

Influenza spreads between humans when infected people cough or sneeze, then other people breathe in the virus or touch something with the virus on it and then touch their own face. Swine flu cannot be spread by pork products, since the virus is not transmitted through food. The swine flu in humans is most contagious during the first five days of the illness, although some people, most commonly children, can remain contagious for up to ten days. Diagnosis can be made by sending a specimen, collected during the first five days, for analysis.

Recommendations to prevent spread of the virus among humans include using standard infection control, which includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in public. Chance of transmission is also reduced by disinfecting household surfaces, which can be done effectively with a diluted chlorine bleach solution. Social distancing, another tactic, is staying away from other people who might be infected, and can include avoiding large gatherings, spreading out a little at work, or perhaps staying home and lying low if an infection is spreading in a community.
 ‘For preventive measures, people should use masks in crowded places,’ Dr Guleria said, also stressing that good standards of hygiene must be followed.
Antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and make the patient feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within two days of symptoms). Beside antivirals, supportive care at home or in a hospital focuses on controlling fevers, relieving pain and maintaining fluid balance, as well as identifying and treating any secondary infections or other medical problems. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses; however, the majority of people infected with the virus make a full recovery without requiring medical attention or antiviral drugs.
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Source: with inputs

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