With Bollywood star Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao being the latest victims of swine flu, the health authorities have warned that the cases will continue to rise. According to official data of cases reported until July 30, the maximum number of cases have been reported from Maharashtra (3,450), followed by Karnataka (2,732), Kerala (1,285) and Gujarat (549). Delhi has reported 517 cases until July end.
Data also show that the flu has claimed 736 lives since the start of this year, with 358 deaths reported in Maharashtra and 70 in Kerala.
Dr Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services has warned that the cases of swine flu, caused by the H1N1 virus, will see an "upward trend".
"We are seeing an upward trend because of the H1N1 virus that is causing the flu this time. This year, the strain of the virus is Michigan. If we look at data from last year, the virus was H2N2," said Prasad.
Prasad said that states had been advised that the vulnerable groups of people be vaccinated. "Pregnant women, diabetic patients, those suffering from chronic obstructive lung disease, HIV-infected patients should be given the vaccine as a preventive measure. If someone has got the flu, senior citizens and kids at home should also be given the vaccine to prevent the infection from spreading," he said.
Another important guideline that has been issued is that when doctors highly suspect a patient has swine flu—characterised by nasal discharge and high fever—they should not wait for the test reports to confirm. Instead, they should start the treatment right away.
Prasad also said that if a swine flu patient needed to step out of the house, they should use masks to prevent the infection from spreading. Staying in, is of course, the better option.