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Centre warns of Swine flu escalation during monsoon

Updated on: 15 June,2009 06:15 PM IST  | 
MiDDAY Correspondent |

A scary warning from the government of India u00e2u0080u0093 the worst of the swine flu epidemic is yet to come after monsoon.

Centre warns of Swine flu escalation during monsoon

A scary warning from the government of India u00e2u0080u0093 the worst of the swine flu epidemic is yet to come after monsoon.

Six more per sons tested positive for the A-H1N1 swine flu virus in different parts of the country on Sunday. The total number of confirmed infections in India is now stands at 23.

The Union health ministry held a high-level review meeting with officials of the National Disaster Management Authority and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to ensure the disease does not spread with the monsoon looming.

Health Secretary Naresh Dayal said, "Till now it has been under control because of the summer heat but we fear that once the temperature becomes cooler the virus might proliferate."

"We are happy that this time it is not proliferating so much because the temperature is high. But after the monsoon there is a chance that it can come again," he added.

However, the health minister said that the level six pandemic of the WHO is not applicable for India.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization had officially declared a swine flu pandemic, the first global flu epidemic in 41 years.

Admitting that the upcoming monsoon may change the swine flu scenario, BMC executive health officer Dr Jayraj Thanekar admitted that humidity and temperature change could play a big part. "We do not know what change to anticipate but yes, the monsoons may prove conducive for the virus. There could be new issues to deal with," he said.

The state that has now only been screening international passengers has stepped up vigilance and has now distributed Tamiflu to all 33 state district offices.

"200 capsules each have been distributed and regional health officers are being trained to detect symptoms. Since there have been confirmed cases in other parts of the country we cannot take the risk of ignoring possible cross border infections and so in case patients are displaying symptoms and are far away from Mumbai, they can be quarantined and treated," said Dr Uddhav Gawande, deputy director, state health services.

Gawande also said that increased measures were taken keeping the upcoming monsoons in mind. "The virus is a new, so there is only speculation at this moment but we are taking extra measures in case there is an increase," he said.

A day earlier it had said 74 countries had reported more than 27,700 cases of swine flu, including 141 deaths.
On Sunday, two confirmed cases were reported in Bangalore, one was reported in Delhi and Hyderabad, the epicenter of the disease in the country at the moment reported three. The cases in Hyderabad are on the pattern noticed till now.

(With inputs from Alisha Coelho)

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