Srinagar: The life threatening virus H1N1, also known as swine flu, has resurfaced in the valley with a total of 11 H1N1 positive patients admitted at two hospitals here: Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) and Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS).
The doctors say that people still have a chance to get themselves vaccinated. The H1N1 virus had haunted the valley in 2017 when 8 people died of the virus.
According to the Medical Superintendent SKIMS Dr. Farooq Ahmad Jan, the flu started resurfacing in Kashmir from the month of September.
Jan says, “there is still time for people to get themselves vaccinated. One should keep tallying the early symptoms of the flu, including high-grade fever and severe cough or a sore throat and body aches, in order to take timely medication for it.”
According to the Public Relations Officer, SKIMS, Sana Kulsum,“since September 2018 till date, a total number of 69 people were confirmed to be H1N1 positive. It includes those who got treated and also recovered. Since October 7 people have died because of the flu.”
“At present, eight patients have been admitted in the hospital,” she says.
As far as SMHS Hospital is concerned, three patients have been admitted to the hospital, one among them being critical.
A separate ward has been created for the patients, and strict quarantine measures are being followed. The medical staff is advised to wear protective gear in order to stop any spread of the virus by contact.
“One patient among the three is critical. She might need a ventilator. As soon as it is available, we will shift her on that. Other patients are absolutely stable. All of them will be treated here,” says an official from the hospital.
“The critical patient is a resident of Hawal, Srinagar. She is suffering from a chronic lung disease” the official adds. The other two patients are from Kupwara, both above 75-years.
The patients are been provided anti-viral drugs free of cost by the hospital.
H1N1 flu is also known as swine flu because of its origin being associated with direct contact of humans with pigs. However, the virus in the recent past has also been reported in people who have had no contact with pigs.
In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, when the World Health Organization called it a pandemic. Since then, people have continued to get sick from swine flu, but their number has declined.
According to the experts the high-risk people include the elderly (above 60 years of age) and children below five years with predisposing factors (for example, asthma), pregnant women and patients with an underlying chronic disease which has affected the functioning of lungs, kidney, liver or heart.
Those diagnosed with diabetes, immune suppression (for example, HIV infection, long-term steroid treatment) or cancer also fall in the ‘high risk’ category.