85 swine flu deaths in Maharashtra in 2017, up from 25 in 2016

Mumbai: The number of deaths caused by H1N1 virus has significantly increased compared to last year. A total of 85 deaths caused by H1N1 have been reported in the state since January as compared to 25 deaths in 2016, according to state officials.
Of the 410 cases reported since January this year, most cases are from Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad, said Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer. All the patients are on anti-viral medications, he added.
“We have intensified screening and surveillance for all viral infections. We are vaccinating the high-risk groups, such as pregnant women and elderly,”Awate said.
A state official said that the increase in cases this year could be because the herd immunity in the population is lowering. “After the H1N1 epidemic in 2015 where 906 deaths were reported, many people were vaccinated as a result of which, we saw a fall in the number of cases the following year,” he said.
Herd immunity refers to immunity that occurs when a significant portion of a population is immunized against an infection, which in turn provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.
He added the temperature fluctuation has given the perfect environment for viruses to thrive. “The big difference in the minimum and the maximum temperature in a day has allowed viruses to thrive,” he said.
Meanwhile doctors have advised that people must avoid self-medication. “Symptoms of swine flu may overlap with other viral infections. People must visit a health facility for a correct diagnosis,” said Dr Om Srivastava, city-based infectious disease specialist.

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