KURNOOL: There has been a steady increase in the number of cases of swine flu diagnosed in Kurnool district. According to in-charge DM&HO Dr Meenakshi Mahadevan, the latest confirmed case is that of 36-year-old Ramija Bi, a resident of Midthuru in Nandikotkur Taluk. Dr Mahadevan says that though the prevalence of the H1N1 virus is a cause for concern, there is no reason for people to worry as the medical administrative department is equipped with the medication and facilities needed to control and check the spread of the virus.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the DM&HO said so far five suspected cases of swine flu had been reported at primary health centres in the district. Of these, three patients tested positive for the virus and two tested negative. One of the three who tested positive, succumbed to the disease at a private hospital in Hyderabad. In another latest case, Ramija Bi has been tested positive but remains asymptomatic. She is currently being treated in a special ward, and is being closely monitored.
Dr Mahadevan said that the number of flu infections typically peak in January and February, and subside with the summer heat but that this year the public’s anxiety has been excessive. She is optimistic that the spread of the disease will gradually taper off in the coming weeks. People are panicking just because it is swine flu,” she said. However, she did caution visitors that they should preferably wear masks when travelling through the district and said that sufficient doses of vaccine were available.
Government scientists have sequenced the virus to check for mutations, and found that there have been no changes in the genome, as compared to the original H1N1 virus from 2009. This means that patients should respond to the antiviral drug Tamiflu. “It is the same virus and the same medication, but the mortality ratio is higher,” said Dr P. Jikki, Government General Hospital administrator in-charge. “People are getting treated by village doctors, sometimes even homeopaths and practitioners of traditional medicine,” she said, “unless they come to a general hospital, we will not know how many people have been affected.”