Maharashtra becomes epicenter of new swine flu spurt

04/04/2012 21:25

Bikymasr:  NEW DELHI: Maharashtra becomes epicentre of new swine flu spurt

New Delhi: A 34 year-old man is believed to have died of swine flu and eleven cases detected in the Western Indian state of Maharashtra have sparked a panic wave amid fears that the dreaded viral influenza is showing a sudden spurt.

The man identified as Nabdy Dattu Chavan died within few hours of getting to a district civil hospital on Wednesday.

Maharasthra, which is home to India’s commercial capital Mumbai, has had eleven deaths due to swine flu over the last 30 days. But doctors and health officials sought to allay fears.

Samples of Chavan and three others, who were admitted in the same medical facility, were later sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune and have returned positive for swine flu. Another patient, whose sample also tested positive, is in critical condition.

“There is just a point mutation in the virus which is a normal course. This is expected out of influenza virus and hence, in most developed countries, the influenza vaccine is updated every year. At present, the herd immunity is down because more than 18 months have passed since people took the vaccine which could be reason for high positivity,’’ said Dr Pradeep Awate, H1N1 surveillance officer, directorate of health services, Maharashtra said.

All the infected persons have been isolated in a special ward.

Doctors however said that the disease was not showing signs of a pandemic, “This is just a shift in virus, not a drift in virus form. The pandemic situation arises during the latter and hence we are not worried of resurgence.’’

On the one hand as state officials deny fear of any pandemic, they have also said that they are studying the pattern in order to observe trends that can help them in future control of the virus.

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