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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic.

H1N1 virus mutating into deadly strain

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    Posted: February 07 2017 at 1:30pm

H1N1 virus mutating into deadly strain: Doctors

 | Updated: Feb 7, 2017, 12.12 PM IST

HYDERABAD: The swine flu toll climbed to eight on Monday with a 50-year-old woman succumbing to the virus in the state-run Gandhi hospital. With 100 H1N1 cases within a week of February and 25 fresh cases reported on Monday, the medical fraternity pressed the panic buttons and warned the virus maybe mutating into a more deadly strain that may make it resistant to anti-viral agents. The swine flu count this year has risen to an alarming 235.

Worried doctors said they are administering most patients with flu-like symptoms with antiviral agent oseltamivir (Tamiflu). They said if more patients test positive, there could be a shortage of the antiviral agent in the city, making people more vulnerable.

"Patients can take vaccines as a precautionary measure as a new strain could have hit us this year. Or it could be just more cases detected due to increased awareness," said a senior health department official.

"Every year, there's a new strain of virus and the vaccine too changes. Children below the age of two are in the high-risk group. So, it is a good idea to get them vaccinated. If a child has high fever, cold and cough for more than three days, it's better to visit a doctor and undergo H1N1 test," said Dr Altaf Naseem, consultant pediatrician, Candy Children's Hospital. An emergency specialist at Apollo Hospital, Jubilee Hills, also said there's a distinct possibility of a new virus strain.

As children are in the high-risk group, schools in Hyderabad have also gone into the precautionary mode and asked students to take series of measures so that they don't contact the virus.

From using hand sanitizers to having nutritious food, schools are encouraging students to get vaccinated.

"We are not ringing the alarm bells, but are just asking students to be safe. Posters have been put up across the school building and even teachers are leading the awareness campaign. We are basically asking students to be hygienic," said Anjali Razdan, principal, P Obul Reddy School.

"We have also exempted students suffering from high fever from attending internal exams," she said. Not just private schools, even department of school education has sent out an oral message to head masters and science teachers of government schools to educate children on swine flu and precautions.
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"We will send out a circular to all schools. We want teachers to encourage students to use handkerchiefs and sanitizers," said Ramesh Babu, district education officer, Hyderabad.


In 2016, only 173 swine flu cases were registered in Hyderabad and in the preceding year it was 3,000, an all-time high.



H1N1 is a contagious virus that spreads from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air when a flu-infected person coughs or sneezes. Based on symptoms and severity, H1N1 status and treatment have been categorised under A, B1, B2 and C as per guidelines of the Union ministry of health and family welfare.


Despite being brought under Aarogyasri through a circular dating back to January 2015, no corporate hospital is providing free treatment to poor H1N1 patients with BPL cards.
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28 new cases of Swine Flu reported in Telangana

Press Trust of India  |  Hyderabad 


Twenty-eight fresh positive cases of Swine Flu have been reported in Telangana, where 15 people have succumbed to the H1N1 virus and other complications since August 1 last year. 

Eighty seven cases were tested for Swine Flu yesterday and 28 of them are positive for the virus, a bulletin issued by the State Government said here today.



It said 341 cases among 4,001 samples tested since August 1 last year were found positive for the virus. 

No death was reported yesterday, it said. 

Sufficient stock of medicines and testing kits were available in the State, it said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Swine flu re-run: Experts warn of deadly virus cocktail & lack of vaccine policy

 | Jan 30, 2017, 12.30 PM IST

HYDERABAD: Experts blame the sudden spurt, as well as annual recurrence, of swine flu (H1N1) cases on the lack of 'vaccine policy' in the country. They say Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are particularly vulnerable because of huge floating foreign population and lack of adequate containment measures in place.


The word of caution comes as experts highlight the threat of 'reassortment` of influenza viruses, which can lead to emergence of new strains. In another possibility, experts warn of the coexistence of swine flu and bird flu viruses that would make for a deadly concoction.


Even as the World Health Organisation has warned of pos sible human cases of bird flu and spurt in swine flu incidents this season, AP and Telangana governments have not taken strong scientific measures on the ground to contain the entry of bird flu from neighbouring states. There is no border surveillance. Neither is there a proper watch on migratory and wild birds that flock water bodies. Experts call for strong surveillance measures in AP and Telangana, which have a huge NRI and floating foreign population, as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention this month reported a `novel reassortant' influenza A (H1N2) virus that did not exist in humans previously. The new strain is a "triple reassortant" containing gene segments from subtypes H1N2 (hemagglutinin), H3N2 (neuraminidase), and pandemic H1N1(remaining genes).
"There is a possibility that the animal adapted influenza viruses undergo genetic rearrangements and select for traits that favour adaptation to new hosts. This can provide accelerated transmission potentials," explains Dr Niyaz Ahmed, veterinary expert and senior director at the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, and research professor at the UoH. He says, "The basic backbone of all influenza viruses is very similar. So it is possible that quasi-species and intermediate forms could be found which mimic characteristics of both the viruses." Ahmed points out that only one aggressive type may out survive other tyoes in a given host population. "In this light, mixed infections are less tenable," he adds.


Dr Kapil Maithal, V-P and head of research and development, Indian Immunologicals Limited, Hyderabad, says, "as we do not have a vaccine policy against it (swine flu), although it is recommended by WHO as an annual vaccination, cases are being reported now, and every year in our country ." He says, "Usually December-February is when swine flu cases are reported as the cold is favourable for the virus." Referring to bird flu, Maithal says,"In case it spreads to humans, considering that there is no vaccine, it can lead to a severe pandemic in India."
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New genetic mutations make swine flu virulent

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | J UMAMAHESWARA RAO

Published Jan 31, 2017, 7:38 am IST

Updated Jan 31, 2017, 7:46 am IST

Visakhapatnam: The H1N1 influenza (swine flu) virus is undergoing genetic mutations, making it more virulent and resistant to conventional treatment. Several studies have found evidence of genetic mutation of the virus and of new strains. The new viral morphology prevents the antibodies, which were developed against the older strains, from recognising the new strains and binding them against the virus.

Earlier, studies had detected possible D222G mutation in HA (hemagglutinin) gene of Indian isolates of swine flu virus. According to a study by the Massachusetts Inst-itute of Technology, one of the new mutations is in an amino acid form called D225 that’s linked with increased disease severity. Another mutation, in the T200A position, allows hemagglutinin to bind more strongly to glycan receptors, making the virus more infectious.

Dr. P. Ramana Rao, an integrated practitioner at the Varam’s Multi-specialty Hospital, commented that swine flu has been a “self-limited” illness. “The influenza viruses undergo constant changes. But all these tiny genetic changes can accumulate over time and forms new strains different from the earlier ones. Eventually, the immune system stops responding against the new strains of the virus. Once the lower ambient temperature during the winter is gone, the virus will slowly lose its ground. There has been no need to panic over the swine flu as it has been a treatable condition,” said Dr. Ramana Rao.

The first positive case of H1N1 was reported in May 2009 and by the end of the year 2010, about 1,763 deaths were reported. Since then, the swine flu virus that caused the pandemic in 2009 continued to circulate as some outbreaks/sporadic cases were reported from different parts of the country. The country experienc-ed the worst wave of the pandemic in 2015 by registering more than 42,000 cases and witnessing about 2,990 deaths.

According to researche-rs, different strains of sw-ine flu have been circulating in India, including in-fluenza A (H3N2), influenza B, seasonal influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H1N1), pdm09 virus (pH1N1), etc. What makes the swine flu cases more bewildering is the onset of symptoms similar to the common flu — such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, diarrhoea and vomiting.

District epidemiologist and nodal officer for swine flu, Dr. L. Kalyana Prasad, said the most effective way to prevent the spread of infections is to practice good hygiene. “It’s better to avoid close contact with an infected person and cover the mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. Frequent washing of hands and getting checked in case of high fever and breathlessness is crucial. Extra care is needed for children,” said Dr. Prasad.


http://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/310117/new-genetic-mutations-make-swine-flu-virulent.html
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just a reminder what we about......

The influenza or flu pandemic of 1918 to 1919, the deadliest in modern history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide–about one-third of the planet’s population at the time–and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims. More than 25 percent of the U.S. population became sick, and some 675,000 Americans died during the pandemic. The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. Surprisingly, many flu victims were young, otherwise healthy adults. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain or prevent its spread. In the U.S., citizens were ordered to wear masks, and schools, theaters and other public places were shuttered. Researchers later discovered what made the 1918 pandemic so deadly: In many victims, the influenza virus had invaded their lungs and caused pneumonia.

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Swine Flu claims 16 lives in Telangana

INDIA Updated: Feb 11, 2017 00:41 IST
ANI
ANI 
Hyderabad
Swine Flu

A total of 16 people have lost their lives due to swine flu and other complication in the state.(PTI File Photo)

A total of 16 people have lost their lives due to swine flu and other complication in the state.

As per the statement issued by the state government, out of 4281 samples tested from August 1 2016 to February 9 2017, 413 were found positive of Swine Flu.

On February 9, 76 samples were tested out of which 19 were found effected by the H1N1 virus.

As per the government, sufficient stock of medicines is available in all Teaching, District and Area Hospital. Apart from this enough testing kits and kits for Viral Transport Medium (VTM) are also made available.

Citizens have been advised to take precautions to avoid getting infected from the H1N1 Flu.

Meanwhile, all the hospitals have also been advised to take all the steps to isolate suspected cases of flu.

Sixty-eight cases were tested for swine flu on February 3 and 25 of them came positive for the virus, a bulletin on swine flu issued by the state government said.

Meanwhile, the death toll in swine flu cases till now in Tamil Nadu is four.

Two new deaths were reported in the government hospital in Coimbatore earlier in the week.


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