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India reports 20-fold rise in H1N1 cases in 2017

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The massive number of cases of swine flu in India in 2017, and deaths due to this disease, are causing alarm.

Already struggling in tackling seasonal diseases such dengue and chikunguniya, India's healthcare authorities now have the challenging task of surmounting the challenge posed by the swine flu virus with its sudden and rapid spurt in various parts of country.

This alarming situation is revealed in the latest health ministry report prepared by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDPS). With 37,848 cases of swine flu reported this calendar year till November 12, 2017, there has been a whopping 20 fold increase in swine flu cases in 2017 in comparison with the number of cases in 2016 when 1786 cases were reported.

The report ‘Seasonal Influenza (H1N1)-State/UT-wise, year-wise number of cases and deaths from 2010 to 2017’, reveals that as many as 1.14 lakh people have been infected with deadly virus in India in this period. The report points that the virus has severely impacted western parts of the country and has had a lesser impact in the northern areas.

It is reported that Maharashtra has been the biggest victim of swine flu as it has reported 23,812 cases and 716 deaths followed by Gujarat, which reported 18,206 cases and 431 deaths. Rajasthan recorded 13,158 cases and 235 deaths.  

No case has been detected in Sikkim and Lakshadweep over the last seven years. In Arunachal Pradesh, which did not witness a single case in seven years, a mutated strain has been detected in patients in 2017. This year, Arunachal Pradesh has reported one death due to swine flu and five cases.

The officials informed the media that a new Michigan strain of H1N1 has also been found in India which for which there is no effective vaccine.

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