More than 100 patients have been tested positive for H1N1 influenza (swine flu) at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura, so far this season, officials Thursday said.
An official at SKIMS said since September, last year, at least 1207 patients were tested. Of them, more than 111 had been tested positive for H1N1 influenza and admitted so far.
Medical Superintendent SKIMS, Dr Farooq Jan said among the total cases that were tested, 462 were cases of influenza B.
“As of now, 7 H1N1 positive patients are undergoing treatment at the isolation ward. All of them are stable. Rest of the patients had been discharged from time to time,” he said.
Jan said this season there had been no death of any swine flu positive patient so far.
Soon after the dip in temperatures in the Valley after September, SKIMS issued a public advisory about seasonal influenza asking people to take preventive measures to avoid falling prey to any kind of infection.
“We have kept everything in place. Vaccines are available for people at the drug counters. Isolation wards are ready and we are well equipped to handle emergencies,” he said.
Jan said they had already vaccinated hospital employees, especially those posted in high-risk departments like Intensive Care Units (ICU) and emergency areas.
“There is no need to panic,” he said. “This is seasonal.”
Jammu Kashmir, being a cold region, is more prone to H1N1 outbreak.
A doctor at SKIMS said this was a seasonal flu and it would come every year.
“People should not take the anti-influenza drug unless prescribed by a doctor,” he said.
The doctor said a person having fever, cough, sneezing and running noose could be a case of H1N1 influenza.
“It doesn’t mean that the person will definitely be H1N1 positive,” he said.
The doctor said it may be any type of flu.
“These are common viral infections, which happen in any part of the world,” he said.
As per official figures, in the past five years, at least 87 people have died due to swine flu in Jammu Kashmir and 2019 witnessed highest number of deaths.
As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which maintains the records of swine flu cases across India under its Integrated Diseases Surveillance Programme (IDSP), at least 27 people died of swine flu in J&K in 2019.
In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, when the World Health Organisation called it a pandemic.
Since then many cases of swine flu have come to the fore.
As Kashmir continues to witness swine flu cases every year, the majority of tertiary care hospitals in the Valley are grappling with shortage of life support and infrastructure, putting patients at risk.
The associated hospitals of Government Medical College, Srinagar, which includes SMHS and Chest Disease hospital receive swine flu cases but patients are at risk due to lack of ventilator support.
A doctor at SMHS hospital said usually such patients were in need of intensive care and doctors had no option but to wait to get a ventilator support for these patients.