Amid dengue crisis, Delhi govt prepares for swine flu

With the change of season, Swine flu warnings have been on the rise and Delhi government gearing up with prevention preparations.

New Delhi: Even as it grapples with the worst dengue crisis in recent years, Delhi government has started taking measures to fight swine flu, which experts say is likely to hit the national capital with change of season.

The state health department today issued a statement on its preparation for the H1N1 Flu Virus (Swine Flu), cases of which have been reported from some parts of the country, in which it said that more than one lakh capsules and syrups of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu/Fluvir) are already available with Delhi government and if required, more capsules and syrups can be purchased.

The government will also procure one lakh H1N1 vaccine to immunize all health care workers in Delhi, including those working in private sector, it said.

Further, instead of celebrating Hand Washing Day on October 10, the government has decided to observe the sanitation awareness drive for a month-long period from October 15 till November 14.

"We have also started awareness programmes regarding 'Do's and Don'ts' for preventing transmission of H1N1 and reducing panic amongst general public by informing them regarding consulting a doctor for treatment and to refrain from self- medication," a senior health department official said.

According to health experts, the swine flu carrier, the H1N1 influenza virus, is prone to appear when the temperatures dip and is transmitted rapidly as it spreads through air and not vector, as in dengue.

Swine flu had assumed epidemic proportions last season which continued till mid-April this year afflicting over 4,259 people and claiming 12 lives in the city.

According to a senior doctor at AIIMS, the hospitals in the city last year had faced infrastructural issues in handling the large number of swine flu cases and stressed on the need for public awareness to check the spread of the infection.

"There was a huge rush of people at OPDs who wanted to be tested for swine flu and many of them testing positive had to be admitted at the isolation wards. There was a time, when there was shortage of space.

"With limited manpower and infrastructure, the hospital authorities faced a real hard time dealing with the crisis," the doctor said.

Swine Influenza (H1N1) is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza virus and spreads from person to person through coughing, sneezing or through touch. The medicine generally prescribed for the disease is Tamiflu, which must be taken only under doctor's prescription.  

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