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216 swine flu ( H1N1) deaths in India in February: Govt

The swine flu epidemic has hit the health care systems hard and is currently showing no signs of slowing down. As of yesterday, it has been reported that within the first few days of February- as many as 216 people lost their lives -raising the death toll to a total of 407 deaths since this year .Most of the cases of swine flu have been reported from Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, while most of the deaths were reported in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana.In Delhi,  approximately 46 people tested positive for H1N1 virus last Saturday taking the total number of cases reported in the Capital to 439, including five people who have lost their lives in this region.

The Delhi Government also held a meeting with top health officials to review the situation. Dr. S. K. Sharma, Director of Health Services, released a statement saying that they had taken a stock of the situation. A review was conducted to ensure that appropriate stocks of medicines and diagnostic kits are available. It was also reported that instructions had been issued to the Lok Nayak Hospital to re-train/sensitise the staff about swine flu management, check their ICU preparedness and ensure that there is proper data collection on the disease.

“We have enough stock of medicines. The reason behind the upsurge in swine flu cases is also because of better awareness due to which more and more people are getting themselves tested and also because of better equipped labs”, he said in a statement.

The Health Ministry has also placed an order for enhancing the stock of diagnostic kits to be supplied to the lab networks, registered under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) for testing of the H1N1 virus. As reported in the news, additional 60,000 Oseltamivir medicines and 10,000 N-95 masks are being procured and tender has been floated for an additional 10,000 diagnostic kits.  A set of guidelines are being circulated to medical staff working with infected patients as well.

A piece of news that causes concern is that scientists at the Indian Medical Council of Research (ICMR), Jabalpur, have meanwhile detected a variation in the swine flu virus samples sent to their lab in the last one month. According to them, the virus may mutate into a dangerous version of itself.  Of 218 samples sent to them between January 1 and February 3, 78 have tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 virus which was the trigger for the flu pandemic in 2009.

To read more about the symptoms and treatment , click here.

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