AP set for resurgence of swine flu; kids suffer from tomato flu

VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh is set to witness a resurgence of swine flu and fresh cases of hand, foot and mouth disease known as tomato flu. The health department has advised people to take preventive steps.

As per data from the National Centre for Disease Control on H1N1, India registered 424 swine flu cases and 12 deaths up to June 30. By July-end, the number of cases had gone up to 1,455, with 17 deaths in July alone. The trends indicate the cases could go up further.

As states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala started reporting more cases and AP has links with these states by air, rail and road, it is only a matter of time before AP starts reporting swine flu cases, officials said.

However, the state health department has not announced even a single case so far.

With AP experiencing early monsoon, it might get exposed to several viral fevers, including swine flu. People are advised to wear masks and consult a doctor for an earlier diagnosis.

The Medical Association’s AP branch has sent an open advisory to the health principal secretary, underlining the importance of bringing about awareness among the people and take requisite preventive measures.

IMA AP president Dr Srinivasa Raju said, “There is a need to conduct a survey at village level to find out swine flu cases and identify the testing facilities that are to be provided. Those who find such symptoms should consult a doctor.”

Several children are suffering from the hand, foot and mouth disease known as tomato flu. They have developed rashes on their skin. Southern states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have started reporting tomato flu cases officially.

According to the Lancet Respiratory Medicine Report, at least 100 cases have been reported in India so far, of which 82 cases in children under five years were in Kerala and 26 cases in Tamil Nadu.

Tomato flu is a highly contagious disease and five to seven days of isolation is required. Precautions like hand-washing, not sharing clothes, food and toys with infected children are advised.

Indian Academy of Pediatrics AP chapter secretary Dr Pawan Kalyan said, “We are getting cases of hand, foot and mouth disease among the children up to age ten from several parts of the state, and the infected should be given proper medical care on the lines of viral fevers.”

Doctors say that people can develop immunity by taking proper food and by changing their lifestyle, and doing some physical exercise so that they can keep off viral fevers.

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