At least 12 people have died of swine flu in Andhra Pradesh in the last two months, with Kurnool and Chittoor districts being the worst-affected areas, NDTV reported on Tuesday. The government has set up screening and testing centres at railway stations, bus stands and at the Visakhapatnam airport.
Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by a strain of the H1N1 influenza. The strain originated in pigs, but is now a human disease that has symptoms that are similar to those of a seasonal flu. The symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and chills. Pregnant women, children under five, the elderly and those with serious medical ailments and impaired immune systems are susceptible to the flu.
Of the 12, six people have died in Kurnool. A pregnant woman from Nandyal and a 69-year-old man from Panyam died on Sunday, The News Minute reported. “Currently we have 10 people admitted and being treated after [they were] found to be swine flu positive,” Kurnool General Hospital Superintendent Dr Chandrasekhar told the news website. “Two of these patients are presently on ventilator support.”
However, the doctor said there was no need to panic. “We are a tertiary care centre,” he added. “We have all the necessary equipment to treat and monitor anyone with swine flu. Tamiflu tablets are there, as are N95 masks and a separate ward to tackle the problem.”
People in Andhra Pradesh have been asked to report to their closest government hospital at the district headquarters if the develop symptoms, while the state-run Gandhi hospital and the Osmania hospital are the nodal centres to treat swine-flu patients in Telangana’s capital Hyderabad. The number of reported cases in Telangana has increased three-fold in the past month.
In Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, at least three swine-flu deaths have occurred, The Hindu reported on Monday. Maharashtra accounts for almost half of the 542 swine flu deaths reported so far this year, NDTV reported. Till October 14, as many as 217 of the 1,793 people diagnosed with the disease died. Maharashtra was followed by Rajasthan, where 191 people succumbed to the disease while 45 people lost their lives in Gujarat.