The Health Department has issued an alert on H1N1, which has been showing a spike in the State since September.
There have been 494 confirmed cases of H1N1 this year till date, including 24 deaths. Cases are spread throughout districts, with 175 cases and nine deaths being reported in the month of November alone.
H1N1 has been on the rise in all south Indian States this year. Doctors should necessarily follow the ABC guidelines and standard treatment protocols for H1N1 when treating patients with cold and fever, the statement issued by the Director of Health Services said.
“The public should take professional care if mild influenza, cough, cold with fever or respiratory distress do not subside or show signs of subsiding in a reasonable time. Oseltamivir is available for free in all government hospitals. Private hospitals should necessarily stock the drug as H1N1 is being reported from all districts,” Additional Director (Public Health) V. Meenakshi said.
At least 500-600 throat swab samples are being sent from across districts every month for H1N1 testing as part of routine surveillance. This month, approximately 30% of the samples tested positive for H1N1, State nodal officer for H1N1 surveillance Amar Fettle said.
Pregnant women, children, elderly and those with respiratory issues, co-morbidities such as diabetes, renal diseases, hypertension and cardiac issues, and immunocompromised conditions such as cancer or HIV should take special care as H1N1 has been known to cause high mortality among these groups.
People with flu should stay home away from crowded public places and should necessarily follow the cough/cold etiquette to prevent the transmission of the virus. Frequent handwashing with soap, intake of fluids and other supportive measures will help. A special alert has been issued for Sabarimala as pilgrims from across States are converging here, especially those from the southern States where there is a current wave of H1N1.
The Health Department has asked that warning about H1N1 be issued through public address system and to distribute the warning through public notices in six languages.