Alert against H1N1 in Kozhikode

12 cases reported in district this month

The Health Department has issued an alert against H1N1 (Influenza) in Kozhikode district in view of the high incidence of the viral infection in the past three-and-a-half months.

District Medical Officer V. Jayasree said in a release on Wednesday that 12 cases had been reported so far in April. Since January, there had been 43 cases and three deaths. Cold, fever, cough, muscle cramps, sore throat, body pain, shivering, and exhaustion are some of the symptoms of the airborne viral infection. Unprotected coughs and sneezes might lead to transmission of the virus and crowded enclosed spaces could also be a source. The virus can also spread through the use of handkerchiefs and clothes of the infected people. It could be fatal for those with low immunity levels.

Patients have been classified into three categories based on the severity of the infection. Those in the first category would have mild fever and cold, and they need only normal treatment. Patients in the second category would have severe fever and sore throat. Oseltamivir tablets would be prescribed for them. Those in the third category would require hospitalisation as they would have respiratory problems, chest pain, and high blood pressure.

Throat and nasal swabs of suspected people are sent to the virology lab attached to the Government Medical College, Alappuzha, and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram.

According to the World Health Organisation, some of the precautions against the infection are avoiding of crowded enclosed spaces and close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections. Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill persons or their environment, may reduce the risk of acquiring illness. Ill persons should be encouraged to practise cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, wash hands), the WHO says.

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