H1N1 cases of Seasonal Influenza in Delhi

Various sub types of Seasonal Influenza virus are circulating and causing the present spurt in cases in the States of Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. Notable among them is Influenza A H1N1 virus that caused the Pandemic in 2009.

Following reports appearing in certain sections of the media, it is reiterated that Seasonal Influenza is spread from human to human by droplets generated by a patient during coughing, sneezing etc. There is no role of pigs or poultry in causing such episodes of Seasonal Influenza.

Accordingly simple public health measures like frequent hand wash, covering nose and mouth with tissue paper or handkerchief, avoiding crowded places are appropriate preventive measures for this disease.

Most of the cases are mild and requires only symptomatic treatment. However, self-recognition of symptoms of fever, cough, body ache etc. and early reporting to an identified hospital is crucial in getting appropriate medical advice. This is more so important for people in extremes of age, pregnant women, people with co morbid conditions such as diabetes, lung diseases, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, blood disorders, diabetes, neurological disorders, immune-compromised patients, those on long term corticosteroid therapy, cancer and HIV/AIDS. Also, if these categories of people come in contact with a diagnosed case of Seasonal Influenza, they are advised to take Oseltamivir drug as prophylaxis.

Adequate stock of the drug Oseltamivir is available with all the State Government identified hospitals. A central Stockpile is also maintained. Its retail sale is restricted as indiscriminate use would lead to development of resistance (to the only available drug).

As we are in the midst of the outbreak, vaccination as a public health intervention is not recommended at this stage.

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