Mumbai, September 3: It is disheartening to see that Maharashtra tops the list of the highest deaths due to swine flu this year. Out of the 1100 deaths recorded nationwide due to the virus attack, Maharashtra remained at the top with 488 deaths followed by Gujarat which saw 343 deaths so far.
According to Health Ministry data, 22,186 cases of swine flu have been reported across India, with experts attributing the increased incidence to a “change in the virus’s strain”.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and AIIMS in Delhi and Pune’s National Institute of Virology have found that the H1N1 strain in circulation this year is different from that seen in previous years. “The virus this year is the Michigan strain. Earlier, it was mostly the California strain,” NCDC Director Dr A C Dhariwal said.
This year, Maharashtra has contributed to more than 45% of all H1N1 casualties and one-fourth of the confirmed cases since January. The state’s H1N1 toll for all of 2016 was 25. Earlier, India saw its most crippling outbreak of H1N1 influenza, also called swine flu because initially, the transmission occurred through infected pigs, in 2009 and 2010, when it claimed the lives of more than 2,700 people.
After Maharashtra, Gujarat has recorded 4,741 cases this year, with a mortality rate of 7.23%. Casualties this year have shot up five times compared to 2016.
Uttar Pradesh is experiencing an even direr H1N1 onslaught than 2009. A total of 2,798 H1N1 cases have been reported in UP so far, against 871 in 2009. There have been 64 deaths, compared to 17 in 2009.
Punjab has reported 31 fatalities, and Himachal Pradesh 27. In Madhya Pradesh, there have been 23 deaths and over 550 cases this year.
Rajasthan has seen 910 cases and 86 deaths so far. In 2016, the number of swine flu cases in Telangana was 173; by August 28 this year, the number had already reached 1,704. Kerala saw 74 of 1,308 cases registered till August 30 resulting in death; 2017 marks the third time since 2011 when the state has reported over 1,000 cases. Tamil Nadu has recorded around 3,000 H1N1 cases and 15 deaths since January. “Health centres reported these cases mostly in February and March,” director of public health Dr K Kolandaisamy said. In Goa, more than 190 persons contracted swine flu, of which 19 died. Four of Assam’s 200 patients have died. There have been five deaths in West Bengal.