TIRUPATI: The precautions taken by the public to fight the deadly coronavirus appears to have played a key role in reduction of the seasonal swine flu (H1N1) cases in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, giving some respite to the overburdened health authorities.
The latest data from National Centre for Disease Control (NCCD) show that the number of H1N1 cases had dropped in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by 10% and 67% respectively, when compared to incidence data from the past few years.
According to the data, till the end of September, Andhra Pradesh has reported 32 H1N1 cases and two deaths, while last year the total number of cases reported were 333 with 15 deaths. The first case of swine flu in the current calendar year was reported in Anantapur district.
The data also shows that AP reported 12 cases and five deaths in 2016. The state, however, saw a massive hike in H1N1 cases in the following years: 476 cases and 14 deaths in 2017 and 402 cases and 17 deaths in 2018 and later dropped to 333 cases with 15 deaths in 2019.
Similarly, Telangana reported 446 cases and five deaths till September 30.
The state has seen a massive drop in number of cases with a reduction rate of 67 percent when compared to incidence data of 2019 – 1,388 cases and 22 deaths. In 2016, it stood at 166 cases and 10 deaths, followed by 2,165 cases and 21 deaths in 2017 and 1007 cases and 28 deaths in 2018.
Health experts believe that mandated precautionary measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 may have had an unexpected impact on the spread of other communicable diseases.
“Extensive use of masks, physical distancing, hand sanitisation and avoiding mass gathering might have checked H1N1 infections in their tracks”, Chittoor DMHO Dr M. Penchalaiah observed.
A senior health official said “H1N1 is generally rampant from October to December. But in 2019 it was relatively under control with very few cases.
Now, it is even more surprising that cases reported from January-September this year are very low when compared to the same time-frame in previous years. We are hoping that H1N1 cases in the following months would be lesser than last year”....