Swine flu has claimed 42 more lives taking the toll across the country to above 1,800 today while those affected by the H1N1 virus inched towards 31,000 mark even as doctors said the number of such cases is expected to dip with the rise in mercury.
According to the Health Ministry data, 1,809 persons have perished due to the disease while the number of those affected across various states was 30,766.
Dr Randeep Guleria, head of Pulmonary Medicine Department at AIIMS, said that swine flu cases will subside in the next 2-3 weeks because of soaring mercury.
“Over the last few days, though the temperature has been fluctuating due to unseasonal rains, but on an average it has shown an upward trend, because of which cases are on decline. Even in OPD we are seeing less patients.
“If we see the government of India figures of the last few weeks, then we will see that there is already a decline in number of H1N1 cases and mortality. It is quite likely that they will subside more in the next 2-3 weeks,” Guleria said.
He said swine flu cases tend to rise during winter and monsoon months and also when humidity levels are high.
Other doctors pointed out that although there has not been any “dramatic” decrease, they hoped that the cases will decrease with the rise in temperature.
“Even in OPDs these days most cases are of seasonal flu, which will hopefully decrease with the rise in temperature,” said Dr Sidharth Ramji, medical superintendent, Lok Nayak Hospital.
Meanwhile, senior CPI(M) leader Gautam Deb’s condition today remained critical but stable after he was tested positive for swine flu. Doctors attending him at AMRI Hospital, Salt Lake, said he was kept in ICCU isolation and has been extubated while the 61-year-old leader is however said to be alert, responsive and communicating.
Dr Charan Singh, nodal officer for swine flu in Delhi, said the department has made all efforts to contain H1N1 virus by increasing awareness among doctors and hospital staff.
“It is also due to increased awareness that more and more people are getting themselves tested and thus cases are coming to light. However, cases are on decline over the last one week...,” he said. In Delhi, 11 deaths have been reported while the number of swine flu cases stood at 4,073.
Rajasthan state health department officials said that 391 people have died of swine flu this year so far in the state, of which 12 were residents of other states who were undergoing treatment at different hospitals in Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, Union Health Ministry data showed that Gujarat is the worst affected state with 397 people having perished while the number of affected people has reached 6,226.
Swine flu has killed 391 people in Rajasthan where 6,268 people are suffering from the disease.
The death toll in Maharashtra crossed the 300-mark as 314 have died due to the contagious disease while 3,694 people have been affected. In Madhya Pradesh, 259 people have perished and 1,980 have been affected.
In Uttar Pradesh, it has claimed 17 lives, the state government informed the Assembly today.
The toll in Telangana has increased to 74 while in Karnataka, 76 people have perished to the disease. In Punjab, 52 people have died.
The death toll in West Bengal has risen to 22 with the death of another person while Uttar Pradesh has witnessed 35 deaths. In Jammu and Kashmir, the death toll stands at 16.
Eleven people have died in Kerala while in Tamil Nadu, the death toll has rose to 13. Twenty persons have died in Andhra Pradesh while an equal number have perished in Himanchal Pradesh. The disease has claimed the lives of 16 people in Chhattisgarh.
A study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has said the swine flu virus in India may have mutated to a more severe and infectious strain than the earlier H1N1 strains. Indian health experts are studying the report and analysing it.
Health Minister J P Nadda had made it clear that the swine flu virus, which has killed more than 1,800 people in the country, has undergone no mutation but would “continue” to circulate as a seasonal phenomenon.