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Swine flu cases swell despite rise in temperature in city

According to civic health department, prolonged winters and low temperatures were a major cause for the spurt.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
February 23, 2015 1:24:21 am

Despitesteep rise in temperature over the past one week, the cases of swine flu are steadily rising, with 23 new cases reported Sunday in various hospitals across the city. Of these, one is a 42-year-old woman from Thane who is recuperating in a civic-run hospital.

According to the civic health department, prolonged winters and low temperatures were a major cause for the spurt in the viral disease that was first reported on January 19 in Mumbai and has so far led to 13 deaths in the city. Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner at the BMC, had earlier said that the cases will start declining once the mercury level rises.

On Sunday, the regional meteorological center recorded a maximum temperature of 38.2 degree Celsius, a 6.4 degree rise from 31.8 degree Celsius recorded a week ago on February 15. The cases of swine flu, however, surged from 17 on Friday to 19 on Saturday and reached 22 on Sunday.

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“We were expecting that the cases will reduce once the temperature rises, but the trend is suggestive of an antigenic shift in the virus. There is a need to scientifically validate whether mutation in the virus has made it more resilient,” said Dr Om Srivastava, an infection expert.

According to another infection expert from Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital, while the virus has been in circulation in the city for five years now, this year’s outbreak was caused by conducive environment for virus to grow and huge migratory crowd.

Dr Ramesh Chaturvedi, newly-appointed dean at R N Cooper hospital, said, “By April end, you may not find any case of swine flu. It is a seasonal infection and soon the population will develop immunity against it.”

Currently, BMC has announced free tamiflu drugs to patients admitted in private hospitas apart from those under civic hospital’s umbrella.
On Sunday, as many as eight children tested positive for H1N1 virus along with seven senior citizens. Dr Mangala Gomare, deputy executive health officer, admitted that the severity of swine flu was higher in both the age groups. “Apart from patients with co-morbid conditions, senior citizens, children and pregnant women are at high risk,” she said, adding that till now no pregnant women has been diagnosed with the air-borne infection.

According to data from the civic health department, till Friday, seven patients were on ventilator support in city hospitals, of which two are residents of Mumbai.

tabassum.barnagarwala@expressindia.com

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