India in 2017 saw a record 20000 cases of Swine flu in 6 months, which is the country’s highest ever swine flu outbreak. Surprisingly, most of the cases were recorded between the summer months February and March.
According to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the recent outbreak saw this high a number of patients due to a change in the strain of the H1N1 virus. Doctors at the institute believe that the previous Californian strain of the virus was overtaken by a new Michigan H1N1 strain, which caused more harm, though the genetics of the new strain are yet to be known.
As reported by the Times of India, the toll has risen multifold this year from that recorded in 2009-10, which was the worst year in the history of swine flu in India.
Data from different states confirmed Maharashtra and Gujarat, which observed 488 and 343 deaths respectively to be the worst affected, followed by the states of Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.
Kerala and Goa saw a new high in the number of cases reported as well as the toll of death, while Punjab and Haryana were also on the list of highly affected states.
Most of the deaths were between the working age group of 25-50 years.
These were the statistics of the cases reported. However, the harsh truth is that every year, thousands of cases go unreported due to high costs of treatment in the private sector and lack of facilities in government hospitals.
Despite this, state health minister Sharad Jain believes, “only God can be blamed for death from swine flu.”
The NCDC and AIIMS are working to identify the virus’ strain more properly and develop or import new vaccines for the same.