Delhi plans more awareness ads as swine flu increases

November 29th, 2009 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) As the number of swine flu cases escalate in the national capital, the Delhi government plans to spread more awareness about the H1N1 virus with a slew of ads in newspapers in the coming week.
The total number of confirmed cases of swine flu in Delhi as of Saturday was 4,454, the highest in the country. This is followed by 3,973 cases in Maharashtra. The total number of confirmed cases in the country is 17,868.

According to Anjana Prakash, assistant nodal officer handling swine flu cases in Delhi, the sudden rise in the number of cases in Delhi, and the rest of the country, was expected as an implication of the second wave of the flu.

“Over the last three days, we have been getting almost 100 cases of swine flu on an average. Yet, I won’t call this number alarming because, as announced by WHO, with winters approaching the second wave of the flu will hit many more people,” Prakash told IANS.

“In order to keep swine flu in people’s minds and keep spreading awareness, we will issue advisories in newspapers and other media over the next few days. Having said that, I think people are a lot aware now, that’s why more people are coming to get themselves tested and treated,” she added.

On Sunday, in an open letter to city residents in a newspaper, Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia harped on the fact that “the disease still exists”.

Reiterating the basic points of hygiene that one needs to adopt to check the spread of swine flu, the advisory also gave details of all the government hospitals where one can get tested free of charge, the hospitals where paid treatment is available and also the contact details of private diagnostic facilities.

“The severity of the second wave of H1N1 is less. Also, like in normal influenza, people are developing an inherent immunity to swine flu. However, if there is a co-morbidity factor involved, for instance if a person is above 60, pregnant, diabetic, had suffered from tuberculosis, HIV, the person needs to be more careful,” Prakash told IANS.

And in what could be alarming, Prakash said that the virus could infect a person without showing the conventional symptoms like a runny nose and high temperature.

“One of my colleagues whose son’s classmate was detected with swine flu decided to get himself tested the other day and although he showed no symptom, tested positive. This is why, despite the WHO no longer recommending it, we continue to give a five-day treatment to people who have come in contact with a person suffering from swine flu,” she said.

Until now, India has seen 569 deaths because of swine flu, of which 22 deaths have been in Delhi.

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