Swine flu: Govt monitoring situation, 132 dead

After 132 deaths and 708 cases of swine flu reported across the country, government said it was monitoring the situation, which is "well under control".

New Delhi: After 132 deaths and 708 cases of swine flu reported across the country during the current year, government on Tuesday said it was monitoring the situation, which is "well under control".

The worst affected state was Rajasthan, accounting for 65 deaths and reporting as many as 326 cases, followed by Haryana with 23 deaths and 78 cases of H1N1 infection during the period January 1 to February 6 this year.

Punjab has reported a total of 16 deaths and 90 cases of swine flu, while Gujarat has reported 16 deaths and 58 cases in less than seven weeks of the current year.

A total of 3,315 lives have been lost due to the virus so far since May 2009, with a total number of 53,943 cases reported from across the country till January 27.

The government also said that since the virus is circulating within the country, there is no need to impose any travel restriction or screening at inter-state point of entry, railway stations.

"World Health Organisation while declaring the Pandemic to be over in August 2010, conveyed that the influenza H1N1 pandemic virus would take on the behaviour of seasonal influenza virus and continue to circulate for some years. Hence, in the post-pandemic period, localised outbreaks of varying magnitude with significant level of H1N1 transmission are expected," a Health Ministry statement said.

The ministry said cases are being reported presently from states of Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab and said small pockets of population that remained unexposed to the pandemic and were susceptible would be affected.

Delhi has reported 57 laboratory confirmed cases of Influenza A H1N1 since January 1, 2013 of which three have died (as on February 7).

A total of 153 lives have been lost in the national capital since May 2009 due to the Influenza A virus, with a total of 11,294 cases reported so far.

In Delhi, 22 hospitals (17 governments and 5 private) and 8 laboratories (3 government and 5 private) have been activated and this includes central government institutions like RML Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and laboratories of NCDC and AIIMS.

Maharashtra has reported a maximum of total 1,083 deaths since May 2009, with total cases of Influenza A H1N1 virus standing at 13,009 till January 27.

Rajasthan has so far lost 428 lives, with 5,367 total cases and Gujarat lost 528 precious lives with 2,517 confirmed cases of H1N1 and Karnataka lost 314 lives with 5,440 cases of the virus.

In the post pandemic period, the country has experienced outbreaks of H1N1 during August to October, 2010, May to July 2011, March and October 2012 and now in January-February 2013.

Government said the anti-viral drug `Oseltamivir` is available free of cost through the state public health system and a central stockpile of about 5.5 million tablets of `Oseltamivir` is also maintained.

The government has also asked states of Punjab, Haryana, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and UT Administration of Chandigarh to keep the medical response system in a state of preparedness to screen large number of patients and for managing those requiring critical care.

It has also asked these states to follow guidelines on categorisation and testing of patients and provide requisition for Oseltamivir tablets (anti-viral drug), personal protective equipment and masks if required.

The Health Ministry has received a request from Rajasthan for supply of 6 lakh tablets of antiviral drug, personal protective equipment and masks, which is being dispatched while the request from Haryana for 1 lakh Oseltamivir tablets is being processed.