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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mumbai’s H1N1 cases cross 300 mark this year

Mumbai: With the H1N1 influenza virus making a surprising comeback this year, the number of positive cases in the city so far has crossed the 300 mark. Till Saturday, 308 Mumbaikars had tested positive for the virus as against six in the previous year. This, when the monsoon is not yet officially over. 

    While the incidence of positive cases is surely seeing a downward trend in the city, experts say people should not drop their guard. The virus had affected seven persons in March and 20 in the following two months. The number started multiplying with the onset of monsoon with 35 cases being reported in June. It, however, peaked in July when 151 or 49% of this year's positive cases were reported. 
    Civic reports suggest the virus is on its way out, given the drop in the number of positive cases in August (95). On Saturday, three persons, including a four-year-old boy from Borivli, tested positive. An 82-year-old man from Mahim had to be admitted to a private hospital while a 45-year-old woman from Andheri was treated on an OPD basis. Over 655 positive cases and 36 deaths have been reported across Maharashtra since April. 
    Explaining the spurt in H1N1 cases this year, the director of Parel's Haffkine Research Institute, Dr Abhay Chowdhury, said, "The trend 
in the number of people getting affected will be different every season. Yes, it was more this year but nothing unusual. Influenza B, which is a milder strain, is as much in circulation as H1N1," he said. "Virologists have not noticed any major changes in the behaviour of the H1N1 virus." 
    Despite scanty rain, two confirmed deaths were attributed to the influenza virus in August. 
    Infectiousdiseasesexpert Dr Om Srivastava said since H1N1 is an influenza variant, one must always be careful. "Any delay in seeing a doctor could complicate cases," he said, adding, "In another coupleof weeks,the virusshould not pose much of a threat."



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