Death toll rises to 1,100 as swine flu witnesses a change in virus strain

India witnessed an unexpected surge in swine flu deaths in the country this year. It has been estimated that approximately 1100 people were infected with the virus so far this year. It seems to be an alarming condition as the county is expected to witness a major outbreak. Maharashtra is the worst affected state with a recorded death toll of 488, followed by Gujarat with 343 swine flu deaths.

Reports released by Health Ministry depicts 22,186 cases of swine flu across India. The increased incidents are the result of a change in the virus’s strain. AIIMS in Delhi and National Institute of Virology have found that H1N1 strain in the current year is not synonymous to the one reported previous years. The director of NCDC, Dr. A C Dhariwal said that the virus is of Michigan strain in the current year while it was of California strain the previous years. Nevertheless, he added that role of the new strain doesn’t have any scientific claims as yet. Therefore, the need of the hour is to exercise prevention from influenza and stay safe.

The crippling outbreak is witnessed in view of the transmission occurring through infected pigs in the year 2009 and 2010 when it claimed the lives of over 2700 people.

In 2017, Maharastra alone contributed to 45 percent of swine flu deaths which constituted three-fourth of the entire casualties. For 2016, the swine death toll was just 25 for the state.

The unprecedented virus strain claimed most of the lives of age group lying between 25 to 50 years. Dr. Satish Pawar, head of Maharashtra’s directorate of health services added that self-isolation must be performed as the best prevention method in case of an air – borne disease like influenza. Gujarat recorded a mortality rate of 7.23 percent from the recorded 4,741 casualties.

It is startling to note that casualties have shot up to five times as compared to the previous year.

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