Mumbai Swine flu – or H1N1 cases- continue to top the list of monsoon-related ailments in the city. Data from the public health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) shows that in the first seven days of August, the city recorded 80 swine flu cases against 105 cases all through July. In contrast, August 2021 saw mere 18 H1N1 cases.
After the spike in cases in July, BMC issued an advisory for citizens, which include following hand and cough hygiene and avoiding crowded places.
To put in perspective, 80 swine flu cases that were logged in the first week of August is a marked increase as compared to the previous month. The number of H1N1 cases in the first 24 days of July stood at 62, while the city clocked 43 cases in the last seven days of the month. The rise in cases is also visible when compared between January to December over the past three years – 189 H1N1 cases so far this year as against 64 in 2021 and 44 cases in 2020.
Dr Mangala Gomare, executive officer of health in the BMC, told HT, “The H1N1 cases are increasing and people have to be careful. Especially senior citizens, patients with comorbid conditions like hypertension, diabetes and with low immunity levels. Otherwise, it is not a fatal infection but with immuno-compromised patients, it turns out to be critical.The facilities are present in our hospital but people should exercise caution at the individual level.”
Health officials said one should avoid self-medication and consult a nearby BMC health post/dispensary/hospital for treatment if there is a history of high fever, difficulty in breathing, or blue colour of skin or lips. “Treatment should not be delayed because it leads to complications and risk of death,” read the advisory.
Doctors in private hospitals said there has been a rise in H1N1 cases this year, and attributed it to the monsoon season, drop in immunity levels among those with a history of being infected with Covid, as well as increased testing.
“Swine flu cases have increased dramatically in the last two weeks. I treat at least five to six patients regularly. There is also a rise in the number of patients admitted because of the severity of swine flu. Earlier, only aged patients with comorbidities would be admitted but now there is no age limit,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician, Bombay Hospital, Marine Lines, who recently treated a patient with a combination of severe swine flu and leptospirosis.
Swine flu symptoms include fever, cough/sore throat/throat irritation, body ache, headache, diarrhoea/vomiting.