Rajasthan has been battling swine flu cases since the beginning of the year. Now it is looking to another state with a high burden of the disease – Maharashtra – for guidance on how to handle it.
“We will implement [the] Maharashtra model in the state to combat swine flu,” said Dr Ravi Prakash Sharma, additional director of rural health at the state health department. “We have already shared influenza A H1N1 clinical management protocol issued by Maharashtra Communicable Diseases’ Prevention and Control Technical Committee (MCDPCTC).”
Swine flu has been a matter of concern for several years. India recorded 38,811 swine flu cases in 2017 and the trend persisted well into last year. Thousands of deaths and hundreds of deaths were reported across numerous states, with Maharashtra bearing the brunt of them.
This year, the disease continued to incur a toll. By February 3rd, more than 6,700 cases of the disease had been recorded and 226 people had lost their lives. Just four states – Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan – accounted for 61 percent of cases. Rajasthan has incurred a particular burden: it was the worst-hit state in India and its annual cases more than doubled. By March, the death toll in the state crossed 150.
At present, Rajasthan has reported 5,022 cases of swine flu and 205 deaths (as of July 7th). Adopting the three-pronged approach undertaken in Maharashtra last year will involve
- Screening cases of flu and categorising them
- Guidelines for treatment of swine flu cases in adults
- Guidelines for treatment of swine cases in children
Dispensing vaccination against the disease to especially vulnerable populations, such as those with pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems, is also recommended.
Swine flu regularly leads to panic, ever since the first pandemic in 2009-10 which killed thousands worldwide. For India, it is a yearly occurrence which requires vigilance. Cooperation between states and sharing of policies could be one avenue towards this.