New strain of H1N1 virus in Rajasthan

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India Comments Off

Doctors should follow the national flu guidelines; people should follow basic hygiene

New Delhi, 06 January 2018: Recent estimates have indicated that there have been more than 100 cases of flu in Jaipur, Rajasthan with over 10 deaths within a one-week duration. The cases are due to a new strain in the H1N1 virus called the Michigan strain.H1N1 is associated with increased hospitalizations and deaths among elderly adults and young children. The Rajasthan government on January 3 sounded an alert in the state after more than 400 people were diagnosed positive for the swine flu virus in December 2017.

About 241 swine flu deaths have occurred in the state since January 2017. Apart from this, 3,033 hospitals have swine flu screening centers,1,580 isolation beds, 214 ICU beds, and 198 ventilators for patients affected by the swine flu virus.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Though the virus may be less dangerous, it is certainly more contagious. As the virus has undergone a change, it is likely to infect more people who have not developed immunity to it yet. Flu (influenza) viruses are divided into three broad categories: influenza A, B or C. Influenza A is the most common type. H1N1 flu is a variety of influenza A.H1N1 indicates the viral serotype. It is a kind of shorthand for characteristics that identify the virus to your immune system and allow the virus to enter your cells. There are many different strains of H1N1 flu. The virus spreads through droplet infection and spreads with a person coughs, sneezes, sings or speaks. The virus can cover only a distance of 3 to 6 feet.”

Some symptoms of H1N1 include: muscle pain; dry cough; diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting; chills, fatigue, or fever; headache, shortness of breath, or sore throat.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, Vice President CMAAO, said, “All Rajasthan doctors are advised to administer antiviral drugs to all hospitalized, severely ill and high-risk patients with suspected or confirmed influenza. It is also imperative to follow the national flu guidelines.”

Some take home messages

  • No fever no flu; cough, cold, and fever indicate flu unless proved otherwise
  • No breathlessness no admission
  • People with co-morbid conditions, pregnant women and the elderly should not ignore flu
  • For both hospitalized patients and those managed in the outpatient setting, isolation precautions should be implemented.
  • Hygienic techniques such as handwashing have been shown to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, especially from younger children.
  • Health care workers in Asia often wear surgical-type face masks to prevent their acquisition of respiratory tract infections. Such masks are increasingly used by travelers for the same purpose. Wear a mask when within three feet of the patient. Health care workers should also use gloves, gowns, and eye protection, as appropriate, when in contact with infected patients
  • Gargling with water three times daily or gargling with povidone-iodine is recommended.
  • Patients and visitors should cover their nose or mouth when coughing, promptly dispose used tissues, and practice hand hygiene after contact with respiratory secretions.
  • Let the patient remain in a single room. All contacts should wear simple masks when within three feet reach. Hand wash after coming in contact with respiratory secretions. Consider flu vaccines for contacts.