85 people tested positive for H1N1 since January

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Bangalore: More people appear to have been affected with the contagious respiratory infection, Influenza A (H1N1), in the last four months after a two-year lean period.

According to the latest report from the department of health and family welfare, of the 602 samples screened, nearly 85 people tested positive for the flu and nine of them succumbed to the flu since January 2014.

And contrary to the common conception that Influenza A (H1N1) raises its head in the monsoon’s wet and cold weather, this year more cases were reported in April when temperature soared in Bangalore.

More cases were reported in April at SDS Tuberculosis Research Centre and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, the designated government hospital where people are screened for Influenza A (H1N1).

Dr Shashidhar Buggi, director of the institute, said that from January to March, the hospital had not tested anyone positive for flu, but in April, of the 44 swabs sent, about six patients tested positive and one of them died.

Besides, three deaths have been reported in Udupi, two in Mysore and one each in Davangere, Tumkur and Ramanagar districts.

“Influenza A (H1N1) had wreaked quite a havoc in 2009 and 2010, but now the flu has become part of society. We are now better equipped to handle the positive cases. What we need to be aware of is whether the virus strain has become variant and if there is any mutation,” Buggi added.

But Dr V Ravi, HoD, Neurovirology at Nimhans, said that of the numerous samples they had received, no significant changes had been noticed in the virus strains.

“We receive samples throughout the year and the numbers normally increase during the monsoons. In the last five years, we have not seen any mutation in the virus strain,” he added.

The government says it is taking no chances. Geetha Nyamagowder, director of health and family welfare, said necessary instruction had been given to government as well as private hospitals with regard to the protocol to follow in case of any suspected person with flu.

The antiviral drug, Tamiflu, has been stocked in all hospitals, to be administered to patients who test positive for the flu, she added.

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