After claiming the lives of close to 2,200 people and affecting another 35,000 across the country, the deadly impact of the H1N1 virus now seems to be on the wane with the onset of summers as doctors predict a further reduction as the mercury goes up.
Doctors said the virus generally recedes with a rise in temperatures and that should have happened in February itself, but the number of cases kept rising this year due to the transitional weather and unseasonal rainfall.
According to the latest Union Health Ministry data, 2,172 persons have succumbed to the disease while the number of persons affected across various states stands at 35,138. “It has been a trend that with a rise in temperatures, the virus tends to recede, which is why we are seeing fewer cases now. The cases would have come down in February itself, but due to the transitional weather and unseasonal rain, there was an increase,” said Charan Singh, nodal officer for swine flu in Delhi government’s health department.
He said that only 12 swine flu deaths have been reported in the national capital this year and, in almost all of the cases, the patients were suffering from co-morbid conditions, especially heart and respiratory diseases and diabetes. “With the onset of summer, the number of patients visiting OPD every day has decreased significantly. Also, fewer swab samples are being sent to the testing laboratories. Now, when patients come, we administer them medicines and tell them to take precautions and enough rest,” a senior AIIMS doctor said.
As per the Union Health Ministry, the number of deaths and those affected by swine flu this year has been the highest in the last 6-7 years. While 981 deaths were reported along with 27,236 cases of swine flu in 2009, the disease claimed the lives of 1,763 people in 2010 and affected around 21,000 people. In 2011, 603 cases were reported and the disease claimed 75 lives while, in 2012, there were 5,044 cases and 405 deaths. Swine flu claimed 699 lives and affected 5,253 people in 2013 while 2014 saw 937 cases and 218 fatalities.