Srinagar: Kashmir has seen a sharp rise in infectious and respiratory diseases for the past couple of days as hundreds of people, mostly children, were diagnosed with respiratory tract infections and presented symptoms of the deadly H1N1 influenza virus.
According to Public Health experts, over 200 cases of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) have been reported from different hospitals of Srinagar during the past week.
However, they cautioned against the unnecessary use of antibiotics, saying the infection is self-limiting and treatment should be symptomatic.
“There are only a few cases which clinically point towards the presence of influenza virus. So, people should follow strict precautions at their homes and outside, including regular hand washing and cough etiquette,” said a physician.
“The cases have been reported across Kashmir due to its spread pattern through the air. However, people should not panic as the disease is self-limiting, and proper precautions and rest may cure it completely,” said Dr Muhammad Salim, head of the department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Government Medical College, Srinagar.
Doctors at SKIMS told Kashmir Reader that sputum samples of many patients were sent for examination for detailed assessment and diagnosis.
“Lab reports are yet to confirm the presence of viral infection though clinical examination points to viral infections. The final report will take a couple of days to come,” they said.
According to the official report, nearly eight patients have tested positive for H1N1 at SKIMS in last week, with one death reported at the hospital during that period.
“Seven H1N1 positive patients are presently admitted at the health institution,” it said.
“We have admitted 34 H1N1 positive patients this season and discharged 20 among them while 7 died at the hospital due to various co-morbidities,” the report said.
Dr Manzoor Kadri, Medical Officer at the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme of the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, said reports of infectious and respiratory disease are coming from across Kashmir, especially from areas of south and north Kashmir and the frontier districts. However, he said, there is no worrying trend as of now.
“The disease is yet to take a dangerous turn because we were being able to control it till now. We are issuing appeals and advisories for people so that there is no increase,” he said.