03 August 2011
By, Umesh Isalkar
Number Of Cases Down, But People Should Continue To Take Precautions: Experts
“The positivity rate of infection is one in 100 throat swab samples now. However, people should continue to take precautions in terms of basic sanitation practices like frequent hand washing, good diet and healthy habits as the virus is still infecting people. People with co–morbid conditions should be more vigilant. Opting for vaccination, especially the trivalent vaccine that gives protection against two more seasonal viruses along with H1N1, is advisable,” says Mandeep Chadha, deputy director of National Institute of Virology (NIV).
Doctors also vouch for vaccination against the virus. “Vaccination is definitely advisable. Now, we hardly see patients with classical symptoms of swine flu like high fever, throat infection and mild breathlessness. Exposure to the virus for a long time has generated natural immunity among people. Besides, a very large number of people have opted for vaccination, which has led to a good amount of vaccine induced immunity. Both these factors might have led to building herd immunity among us,” said family physician Avinash Bhondwe, former president of Indian Medical Association (IMA). “However, whenever patients complain that they are not getting recovered with the help of regular medication, the suspicion index for possible swine flu infection becomes active,” he added.
Sharing the view, family physician Hillary Rodrigues said, “There are very few cases of swine flu in the city but people should continue to exercise precautions. Despite proper doses of medicines, if a patient complains of persistent throat infection, and the fever has also not relented, the angle of suspicion tilts towards swine flu.”
City health chief R R Paredeshi said that, fewer number of cases “doesn’t mean people should stop taking precautions. All our medical officers involved in swine flu management have been told to keep the index of suspicion high and don’t dismiss cases without proper clinical evaluation. There is no denying the fact that whenever we come across patients where regular flu symptoms have not subsided even after regular medication, the officials starts critically evaluating the patient and Tamiflu is immediately administered to them.”
Barring an infected patient who is critical and is being treated at the isolation ICU of KEM hospital, the city has not reported swine flu patients becoming critical this year. However, the officials are monitoring the situation. The number of infected patients in the city’s limits has gone up to 11 since April this year.
Afew general practitioners also claimed that some of their patients did not catch even regular seasonal viral infection since vaccination against H1N1. “There are patients who say that they didn’t have to pop any pills as they fared very well in terms of keeping themselves hale and hearty ever since vaccination. And we did find that those who opted for vaccination didn’t complain for any other viral infection,” Bhondwe said.
New batch of vaccine
After destroying around two million doses of time–expired swine flu vaccine, the city–based Serum Institute of India has developed a new batch of four lakh doses of the vaccine.
“The new batch of intra–nasal swine flu vaccine is ready. It is being supplied as per the market demand,” Rajeev Dhere, senior director of SII said on Tuesday.