Swine flu threat subsides for now, doctors say

Shafaq Shah

Srinagar: Swine flu threat has weakened for now in the Valley but it might raise its head with intensity in April and May, experts say.
Principal, Government Medical College Srinagar, Dr Rafique Pampori said no fresh H1N1 positive case has been admitted to the SMHS Hospital in the past one week.
Chest Diseases Hospital and GB Pant Hospital have also not admitted any fresh H1N1 positive case, he said.
Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, which is the only institution where H1N1 testing is being done at present, too has witnessed a decline in the number of cases in the past fortnight, said Dr Parvaiz Koul, professor and head department of general medicine at SKIMS.
“The rush at the OPD set up exclusively for swine flu cases too has subsided. Therefore one can say the infection rate is falling,” he told Kashmir Reader.
So far, 16 people have died due to the infection in the state, 12 in the Valley alone. About 400 people tested positive for H1N1 infection. The government had drawn flak for being ill-prepared to tackle the outbreak, although hospitals had received first positive cases in October.
The decline in the number of positive cases has occurred despite bad weather.
A doctor at SMHS Hospital said the influenza virus is most active at 0 degrees Celsius, almost inactive at 20 degrees Celsius and survives in the temperature range of 3-17 degrees Celsius.
According to Dr Abdul Majeed, assistant professor general medicine at SKIMS, cold weather increases the chances of infection because people sit together for warmth in heated rooms and the virus spreads through contact.
“And smoking in such crowded conditions also increases the chances of infection,” he said.
“The virus is most active in October and by March its effect begins to diminish. However, in the Valley, it can remain active because of fluctuating weather conditions,” Dr Majeed said.