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A(H1N1) is self-limiting like other seasonal flu
Experts predict second outbreak during winter
Spreading confidence: P.K. Shetty, Professor and Dean, NIAS; Shashidar Buggi, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (centre); and V. Ravi, Head of the Department of neuro-virology, NIMHANS, at a meet in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Bangalore: The seven-year-old daughter of a policeman attached to Siddapura police station tested positive for A(H1N1) although she only had mild flu symptoms. In fact, her symptoms subsided on the second day itself, even before the test reports arrived.
Similarly, a doctor at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, with mild symptoms, tested positive. She also bounced back to normal even before the reports arrived. These are two examples that prove A(H1N1) is a self-limiting disease like any other seasonal flu. People with high immunity will contract the virus and also come out of it without even realising they had been infected. The risk is high if the patients develop secondary infections or are immuno-compromised.Immunity
The most heartening thing is that if you contract the infection once, you will not get it again in the next 40 years. Even if there is a second infection, it will be a very mild one.
These were some of the important issues discussed at a meet on “Swine flu – Lessons Learnt and Preparedness” organised by the Bio-Security Group of National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in the city on Wednesday.
Organised to boost the confidence of people, the meet had experts discussing issues such as the evolution of the virus, its impact and spread.
Director of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases Shashidhar Buggi, who narrated the above examples, said those who had died of A(H1N1) were those who had either reported late to the hospital or had secondary infections. “All the three A(H1N1) victims, who died in our institute, had extensive pneumonia. Besides, they had reported at the last stage. My appeal to people is to seek medical advice as soon as they get any symptoms and stay at home till the infection subsides. This will help in preventing the spread,” he said.Statistics
Head of Neuro-Virology Department in NIMHANS V. Ravi presented the statistics of the swine flu outbreak in the State and said that 1,296 samples had been tested so far at NIMHANS. While 293 samples had tested positive, 774 tested negative for the flu. Twenty per cent of the tested samples showed strains of seasonal viruses, he said.
He also presented a short film on the procedure of sample collection and processing being done at NIMHANS. Replying to queries, Dr. Ravi said the efficacy of rapid antigen testing kits was “reasonably not good”. “We did a pilot test to find out if the rapid testing kits were feasible. But we found the results were not accurate,” he said. While the State Joint Director (Communicable Diseases) S. Cheluvaraju said those who had got the infection once would be safe for the next 30 years, the State nodal officer for disease control programme, S. Yathiraj, said A(H1N1) virus is restricted to the human population and that “swine flu” is a misnomer.Second outbreak
P.K. Shetty, Professor and Dean, NIAS, said though the influenza has been prevalent over centuries, it was not added in the list of deadly diseases such as cancer or AIDS. “We expect a second outbreak during winter and there may be more cases in districts, smaller towns and villages, in addition to the metros. The number of deaths can be minimised by increasing surveillance and having a system of rapid detection,” he added.
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