SWINE FLU KILLED 905 PEO­PLE IN STATE IN 2015

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Priyanka Vora priyanka.vora@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The H1N1 in­fec­tion killed 905 peo­ple in the state in 2015, 35% higher than 2011, when the in­fec­tion was at its peak.

The state re­ported 8,583 cases of swine flu in 2015, which means the mor­tal­ity rate was more than 10%. “Ma­ha­rash­tra has re­ported high mor­tal­ity, but it could be be­cause of a ro­bust sur­veil­lance sys­tem. We are record­ing all cases of swine flu in the state,” said Dr Pardeep Awate, in charge of swine flu pro­gramme in the state.

Ex­perts said high mor­tal­ity, de­spite the avail­abil­ity of vac­cines and treat­ment, is a cause for con­cern.

While the gov­ern­ment pro­cured 1 lakh vac­cines in Au­gust, only 30,000 peo­ple in the state opted for vac­ci­na­tion.

The Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­ease Com­mit­tee set up by the state gov­ern­ment had said that mor­tal­ity rate was higher among preg­nant women, di­a­bet­ics and peo­ple with hy­per­ten­sion.

So the state health depart­ment in Au­gust started a free vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme for preg­nant women. In De­cem­ber, the pro­gramme was ex­tended to those suf­fer­ing from diabetes and hy­per­ten­sion.

Al­though there have been re­ports of mu­ta­tion of the H1N1 virus, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have de­nied it.

“It is now be­yond doubt that the virus has mu­tated. In the past five years, we have ob­served a cyclic pat­tern, wherein the in­fec­tion grad­u­ally de­clines af­ter a rise, like what was seen in 2015,” said Dr Awate.

CON­TIN­UED ON P6

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