After Maharashtra, Karnataka has the highest number of swine flu (H1N1) cases since Jan 2012. The state health ministry and experts however contend that there is no reason to panic. There have been 173 positive cases in the state. Maharashtra with 463 cases has the highest number of cases.
“The virus is now in a post-pandemic period. Generally, after the pandemic period any kind of virus and even in case of H1N1 virus, it is likely to take on the behaviour of a seasonal influenza virus and continue to circulate for some years to come. During the post pandemic period, the point mutation of the virus will be on but the immunity level among people would already have been developed,” says, Dr Sashidhar Buggi, director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases.
“During the pandemic, the H1N1 virus crowded out other influenza viruses to become the dominant virus. This is no longer the case. In addition to surveillance, vaccination, and clinical management during the post-pandemic period, a continuous study in this regard for a period of 8-10 months is necessary” he further added.
Dr Chandrashekar Malagi, joint director (communicable diseases), Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department seconds the opinion that there is no reason to panic. “The State Health Department is well equipped. Recently we had a meeting with the representatives from private nursing homes in order to sensitise the doctors and create awareness about early detection of the H1N1 cases.”
“We have enough stock of anti-viral drugs and testing kits. In addition, apart from NIMHANS, testing units are in place at three other hospitals: Manipal Hospital, Narayana Hrudayalaya and Command Hospital. Hence we are equipped to handle any load of cases.” he added.