Chennai: The cases of swine flu (seasonal influenza) are witnessing a spurt and 77 cases and one death have been registered in the month of January as per the recent data released by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). One death was reported due to swine flu in Coimbatore in January.
While the state health department authorities assert to have controlled the outbreak in November, the cases have not stopped surfacing. Tamil Nadu witnessed 40 cases and one death up to February last year, while the numbers have almost doubled in less than one month this year.
The number of cases increased between August-October last year. The health department claimed to have strengthened the surveillance programmes and provided intensive care to contain the infection since then, however, the state witnessed 43 deaths in 2018.
World Health Organisation (WHO), highlighting the 10 threats to global health in 2019, mentioned that the world would face another influenza pandemic. WHO is monitoring the
circulation of influenza viruses to detect potential pandemic strains in 114 countries. Every year, WHO recommends which strains should be included in the flu vaccine to protect people from seasonal flu.
“The spike in swine flu cases is only due to seasonal influence and we are already in the last stage of the outbreak witnessed last year. We are seeing one or two cases of swine flu daily. We have arrested the infection in most areas with enough medication availability, more surveillance programmes and awareness programmes,” said public health director Dr K. Kolandaisamy.
The rise in the number of swine flu cases is also being witnessed in the western parts of India, which is believed to be another responsible factor for the increase in the number of cases in Tamil Nadu, say state health department officials.
“People travelling from states like Rajasthan, Gujarat Maharashtra and other surrounding areas are posing high risk of
carrying the infection. The practice of washing hands need to be stressed and we are taking all measures to prevent loss of life due to the infection,” said Dr Kolandaisamy....