Bengaluru, Jul 12 2019: The number of deaths due to H1N1 in the state has increased to 87 even by the middle of this year itself. The coastal Karnataka is the worst affected, according to officials of Health and Family Welfare Services.
Doctors attribute the rise in the casualitiesto a possible change in antigens. As many as 1,766 cases of the flu have been reported in the state till this time in 2019 while it was 1,733 the during the same period previous year.
“The number of cases that we are seeing reminds us of a situation three years ago. The numbers were very high. Compared to the previous year, it is certainly high and is with a changed virulence,” said an official with the department of Health and Family Welfare.
Udupi has the highest number of H1N1 cases (316) and nine deaths while Dakshina Kannada has reported 196 cases and three deaths. Shivamogga is another district with high numbers - 157 cases and 13 deaths; Mysuru district has 157 cases with 4 deaths while 74 cases have been reported from Davangere.
Dr Gangadhara, district surveillance officer, Davangere, said that Mysuru Bengaluru, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Shivamogga districts have recorded a spurt in H1N1.
“This is a situation similar to 2017. We have seen a large number back then,” he said. The state had over 3,260 positive cases in 2017.
He said that though vaccines were available in the market, they were not part of the immunisation schedule as per Government of India guidelines. “This is a 125-year-old virus which is most researched. H and N are antigens and they keep changing every year. This year, a similar thing might have happened,” he said.
Dr Gangadhara said that vaccines hold good only for one year. “If there is a different antigen combination, the numbers go up. Once a person is infected, it could take between 0 and 5 days for him to manifest the complications. Some patients are caught unaware of common symptoms of any flu. The complications might result in death,” he said.
The department of health and family welfare has ordered that all primary health centres stock of Oseltamivir tablets.
Dr Prabhakar T S, Director, department of Health and Family Welfare said that the situation was grim in all districts along the western coast of the country.
“It is a highly contagious disease and the numbers could also depend on the movement of people. Death is because the virus will have a different strain and sometimes, twice in a year, it alters its genetic morphology. Whenever that happens, people fall susceptible to it.