Swine flu sweeping across India

Concern for public health

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July 24, 2017

/ By / Kolkata



Access to swine flu vaccinations remains difficult in India

Access to swine flu vaccinations remains difficult in India

As per recent reports, over 600 people in India have so far passed away due to the H1N1 virus.

Even though several steps have been taken across the world to deal with the growing epidemic of Swine Flu, medical practitioners are struggling in some places as new strains of this disease that can turn fatal have developed. Particular seasons such as the monsoons, where the spread of the disease has been recorded as worse, call for extra measures. In India, reports highlighting the severity of the situation, pointing to an outbreak, have surfaced.
Swine Flu, the common name given to the influenza caused by the H1N1 virus, has fever, headache, body aches and other such symptoms. It was declared as a ‘pandemic’ disease in the world by the World Health Organisation in 2009, though it is now classified as being in the post-pandemic stage. In its initial stages, Swine Flu was first reported in Mexico after which numerous countries such as the UK, US, New Zealand and others began reporting its spread. The rapidity of the spread of the disease was followed later by some stability as several measures across the globe were taken. However, in recent times, Swine Flu is said to have made a return on a large scale in some places. Recently, in south-east Asian country Myanmar, reports have surfaced about deaths caused by Swine Flu which have led to an alert.

In India, during 2015-2016, the spread of swine flu was noted widely, with several medical professionals reporting a new or mutated strain of the virus affecting people. However, despite reports from last year stating that the incidence of the disease had somewhat gone down, the reports this year show different trends. National media has reported that as of early July, around 600 people have died due to Swine Flu. This has reportedly come in reply to an un-starred question in the parliament by the country’s Health Minister J P Nadda. According to this data, a total of 12,460 people this year, in the country have been reported as being infected with the virus.

Some states more problematic

Even as Swine Flu is a matter of national concern, certain states such as western Indian state of Maharashtra has come under the scanner with the largest number of deaths reported thus far, comprising of almost 50 pc of the deaths caused by this virus. Tamil Nadu in southern India has also been reported as recording the highest number of cases of people affected by the H1N1 virus. A number of advisories are now being circulated for prevention of the disease with states such as Chandigarh issuing notices.

Last month, the drug used for the treatment of this form of influenza was re-scheduled to become more widely available at all pharmacies in the country. However, reports of unavailability of vaccines in government hospitals surface from time to time, leaving the most vulnerable section of society with no protection against the disease. As individuals are taking up small measures to arm up against what could possibly be another epidemic, perhaps its time for the government to step in with efficient and effective measures.

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