Dengue, chikungunya, H1N1 cases flood city after rains

Bengaluru: As the rains continue across the state, there has been a significant increase in fevers like dengue, chikungunya and H1N1 influenza, raising the concern of citizens and doctors.

Though the health department claims to be taking measures to prevent these diseases, many people are still getting affected, majorly due to rains. According to the latest report from the Health and Family Welfare Department, 23,911 cases of dengue were suspected across the state, of which 17,054 blood tests were conducted and 2,399 were confirmed positive with dengue. In Bengaluru, H1N1 cases are on the rise. Fortunately, there has no death till now.

Dr S. Sajjan Shetty, Joint Director, communicable disease, department of health and family welfare, said, “There is an increase in the number of H1N1 cases because of the season. From January to August, we had only 39 confirmed cases, in September alone there have been 220 confirmed cases across the state. In the case of dengue, there has been an increase of 10% each month.”

The coastal region has seen a drastic increase in dengue due to continuous rainfall. In Dakshina Kannada, 1,605 cases were identified with dengue, of which 491 have been reported positive. Under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike limits, 17,821 dengue cases were suspected with 313 reported positive. 233 cases in Hassan, 193 in Shivamogga and 191 in Udupi have also been reported.

“Flu infection is caused by influenza group of viruses. It spreads through direct exposure to respiratory secretions through close contact and indirectly by fomites. The best way to prevent flu infection is vaccination against flu. However, certain habits like washing hands frequently can reduce the risk of flu, like respiratory illnesses,” said Dr Pratik Patil, consultant, infectious diseases, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru.

Dr Shetty also said that the health department in September alerted and issued two circulars to all primary health centres and district hospitals to conduct a laboratory test, to have enough stocks of medicines and to take preventive measures. 

“If there is a further increase or it reaches the red alert zone, as per central government guidelines, all Asha workers will start awareness campaigns about the particular disease,” he said.

H1N1 cases have seen an alarming increase in Bengaluru. Of 291 H1N1 cases, 68 were reported positive under the BBMP limits since January. Across the state, Shivamogga reported 31 cases, Dakshina Kannada 18 and Mysuru 15.

“Bengaluru weather is pleasant not only for humans, but also for viruses to proliferate and infect us. For H1N1 prevention, it is advisable to enhance personal hygiene, social distancing and avoiding crowded places. If the symptoms are severe, contact the doctor immediately. Notable symptoms of concern are extreme fatigue and breathlessness. Seasonal flu vaccination especially for high-risk individuals, like elderly people and those with chronic medical conditions is advisable,” said Dr Manohar K.N,. physician & consultant internal medicines, Manipal Hospitals.

Chikungunya cases
There has been an increase in chikungunya cases as well this year compared to last year. 1,948 cases were suspected, of which 1,846 were confirmed last year. This year, 11,278 cases were suspected, of which 7,853 blood samples have been tested. 

However, health officials said that the drive to destroy mosquito larvae is going on and they are cleaning up breeding places.

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