Panic or precaution?

Panic or precaution?

H1N1 killed 1,218, dengue 132 & malaria 50 in India in 2019

Over 500 cases in S-E Asia, India in top 3: WHO

Agency Report | New Delhi | 18 March, 2020 | 11:30 PM

In 2019, H1N1 claimed 1,218, dengue 132 and malaria 50 lives in India, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

“Since 2017, there has been a constant decrease in the number of deaths because of dengue. But 2017 saw an exceptionally high dengue death rate and cases compared with 2016,” said a Health Ministry official.

In 2015, 220 dengue deaths and 99,913 cases were reported. Delhi witnessed 60 dengue deaths that year, according to the data.

In 2016, 245 dengue deaths were reported from across India, while the number of cases jumped to 1,29,166. Delhi saw 4,431 cases and 10 deaths.

The number of dengue deaths across the country was 325 and cases 1,88,401 in 2017. In case of Delhi, the deaths remained at 10, the number of cases more than doubled at 9,271.

There was a drastic reduction in dengue cases and deaths in 2018 both across the country as well as in Delhi. The year saw 172 deaths and 1,01,192 cases across the country. Delhi reported four deaths and 7,136 cases.

Till November in 2019, 132 dengue deaths and 1,36,422 cases were reported. Delhi witnessed 4,155 dengue cases but no death.

In the case of malaria, the number of fatalities has been on the decline, and Delhi has reported zero deaths due to it since 2015.

Malaria claimed 384 lives in 2015 and 331 lives in 2016. In 2017, the number of deaths came down by half to 194 people. In 2018, 96 people died from malaria. Up to December 2019, 50 malaria deaths were reported across India, with only Chhattisgarh reporting deaths in double digits.

However, H1N1 (swine flu or seasonal influenza) has been killing over 1,000 people for the last three years. Even at a time when the focus is on Covid-19 epidemic, up to March 1, H1N1 has claimed 28 lives.

According to the Health Ministry data, there have been over 1,100 deaths due to swine flu in 2019 and 2018. “In 2017, 2,270 swine flu deaths were reported,” it said.

The swine flu deaths in 2018 were 1,128, in 2019 it were 1,218. In 2015 and 2016, 299 and 26 H1N1 deaths respectively were reported.

The number of swine flu cases per year is also high. In 2015, 4,259 swine flu cases were reported and in 2016 it was 178. The number of cases came down to 15,266 in 2018 from 38,811 in 2017. However, India witnessed 28,798 swine flu cases in 2019.

Till March 1, there have been 1,469 swine flu cases in the country.

H1N1 is a seasonal infection that usually occurs every year with two peaks — January to March, and July to September.

Preventive measures, such as covering nose and mouth with a tissue/handkerchief while coughing or sneezing, and washing hands often with soap and water is advisable.

In the national capital, while zero H1N1 deaths were reported in 2020, the number of cases was 226 till February 23. In 2019, swine flu claimed 31 lives and the number of cases was 3,627.

In 2018, two people died because of H1N1 in Delhi with total reported cases being 205. In 2017, 16 deaths and 2,835 cases were reported. In 2016, Delhi had seen seven swine flu deaths and 193 cases. In 2015, the number of 12 deaths was 12 and cases 4,307 cases.

The total number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in the Southeast Asian Region crossed the 500-mark on Wednesday and the disease there has claimed nine lives so far.

In a data shared by Southeast Asia region office of the WHO it showed that at least 575 cases have been confirmed so far. Eight of the 11 countries of the WHO Southeast Asia Region have confirmed cases of COVID-19

In the S-E Asia region, the WHO member country Thailand has at least 177 coronaviruses confirmed cases and one death.

Indonesia confirmed the most number of deaths from COVID-19 — five. The country also confirmed at least 172 cases, the second-highest in the region.

Followed by India with 151 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3 deaths so far. Sri Lanka has at least 43 cases, no death has been reported from there as of now.

The Maldives has 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, while Bangladesh has 8.

Nepal and Bhutan have 1 case each, according to the WHO data. These two countries have not reported any death due to the COVID-19 infection as on Wednesday.

The World Health Organisation directed the Southeast Asia region member countries to take aggressive actions to combat COVID-19.

The world health body has observed that more clusters of virus transmission have been confirmed.

“This is an indication of alert and effective surveillance, it also puts the spotlight on the need for more aggressive and whole of society efforts to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“We clearly need to do more, and urgently,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region.

The WHO observed as the number of confirmed cases increased, some of the countries were clearly heading towards community transmission of COVID-19. Therefore Emergency mechanism would then need to be further scaled up. A network of health facilities and hospitals for triage and surge would need to be activated to avoid overcrowding.

While continued efforts to detect, test, treat, isolate and trace contacts are Of critical importance, practising hand hygiene, covering one’s cough and sneeze, and practising social distancing was of utmost importance in this critical time, advised the WHO. (IANS)