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How Did India Fight An Earlier Pandemic The Swine Flu Outbreak In 2015?

India saw a swine flu outbreak in 2015 that claimed almost 3000 lives, which according to health researchers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, was due to the  poor surveillance of the existing cases of swine flu at the time

How Did India Fight An Earlier Pandemic The Swine Flu Outbreak In 2015?
Highlights
  • 2015 Swine Flu outbreak in India claimed 3000 lives 
  • The outbreak was due to the poor surveillance of the post-pandemic: Experts
  • The outbreak settled by May 2015, as summer helped reduce the transmission

New Delhi: In 2009, the world witnessed a pandemic caused by the H1N1 virus, better knows as the swine flu. It’s called swine flu because in the past, the people who caught it had direct contact with pigs. That changed several years ago, when a new virus emerged that spread among people who hadn’t been near pigs. Symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, chills, weakness and body aches. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are at risk from severe infection.

The flu however, reached a post-pandemic phase in 2010, when the World Health Organization announced that the virus will continue as seasonal influenza virus.

This meant that the H1N1 cases and localised outbreaks of varying magnitude were expected post-2009 pandemic period. The organisation recommended monitoring and surveillance of the cases of H1N1 in the coming years to avoid another major outbreak. However, India saw a significant swine flu outbreak in 2015, with nearly 30,000 confirmed cases and almost 3000 deaths by March, 2015, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data. The worst affected states were Rajasthan, Gujarat and Delhi.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Are The Four Types Of Vaccines Being Worked On To Fight Coronavirus?

According to health researchers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, the outbreak was a result of poor surveillance of the existing cases of swine flu at the time. The outbreak did not appear with any new case as there were on going cases in the country ever since the first case was reported during the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data, the virus killed 981 people in 2009 and 1,763 in 2010. The mortality decreased in 2011 to 75 but claimed 405 lives in 2012 and 699 lives in 2013. In 2014, a total of 218 people died from the H1N1 flu. Event post the outbreak, the Ministry data reveals that due to swine flu, the country recorded 265 deaths in 2016, 2,270 in 2017, 1,128 in 2018, 1,218 in 2019 and 28 in 2020.

How Did India Fight An Earlier Pandemic The Swine Flu Outbreak In 2015?

The swine flu outbreak in India was a result of the on-going cases in the country ever since the first case was reported during the 2009-swine flu pandemic

An expert from the Indian Council of Medical Research told NDTV that every year, there was a rise in number of cases and deaths during winter as temperature affects virus.

The cases were reported throughout the year with bi-modal peaks in rainy season (July-August), and winter-spring season (December-February). During 2014–15 winter, there was a spurt in cases at the end 2014 and by 2015, the outbreak became widespread through India which claimed 3000 lives, he explained.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is The Difference Between Pandemic And Epidemic?

India’s Response To The H1N1 Outbreak

Government of India, amid the outbreak in 2015, issued guidelines suggesting people to social distance themselves as once a person is infected with the H1N1 virus, treatment options are limited.

As the country reported about 30,000 cases, pharmacies were facing a shortage in the medicine used to treat the swine flu, oseltamivir or Tamiflu, as it was not easily available due to high demand. Not all pharmacies were licensed to sell these drugs either.

The Ministry of Health and family Welfare also issued a list of pharmacies and outlets in 36 states and union territories that were licensed to sell the drug, the ICMR expert told NDTV.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is Herd Immunity And Can It Control The Coronavirus Pandemic?

People who believe they may have been infected with swine flu were being told to stay home, wash their hands well and often, cover their mouth when they sneeze or cough, avoid crowds or exposing other members of their household, he added.

The WHO in April said that COVID-19 is at least ten times deadlier Swine Flu and the ICMR expert asserted the same. He said,

Two major reasons why the country was able to control the spread of Swine flu in 2015 was firstly the weather conditions. High temperature in India played a role slowing down the increasing cases of H1N1 and along with the preventive measure as mentioned before, in place we were able to control it by May 2015. Secondly, since the entire world had already dealt with the virus more than 5 years ago including us, we had a treatment as well as vaccination available to control it.

Expert says while the 2015 swine flu outbreak was declared over by May 2015, India like the rest of the world, witnesses swine flu cases on a seasonal bases, especially in winter. Due to a weak healthcare system of our country, we still record a high number of deaths due to the H1N1 virus.

World

22,90,75,864Cases
19,16,26,474Active
3,27,49,574Recovered
46,99,816Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,90,75,864 and 46,99,816 have died; 19,16,26,474 are active cases and 3,27,49,574 have recovered as on September 21, 2021 at 3:56 am.

India

3,35,04,534 26,115Cases
3,09,5758,606Active
3,27,49,574 34,469Recovered
4,45,385 252Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,04,534 confirmed cases including 4,45,385 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,09,575 and 3,27,49,574 have recovered as on September 21, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,24,498 2,583

45,229 1,281

63,40,723 3,836

1,38,546 28

Kerala

45,24,158 15,692

1,67,578 6,623

43,32,897 22,223

23,683 92

Karnataka

29,68,543 677

14,386 1,025

29,16,530 1,678

37,627 24

Tamil Nadu

26,47,041 1,661

16,984 15

25,94,697 1,623

35,360 23

Andhra Pradesh

20,39,529 839

14,388 311

20,11,063 1,142

14,078 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,680 11

194 4

16,86,599 15

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,173 524

7,810 96

15,35,699 608

18,664 12

Delhi

14,38,517 20

379 8

14,13,053 28

25,085

Odisha

10,20,754 510

4,947 96

10,07,666 600

8,141 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,094 38

297 7

9,91,234 43

13,563 2

Rajasthan

9,54,263 9

91 10

9,45,218 19

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,737 14

133 3

8,15,522 17

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,402 8

96 0

7,81,789 8

10,517

Haryana

7,70,746 13

340 6

7,60,598 7

9,808

Bihar

7,25,901 7

69 1

7,16,173 8

9,659

Telangana

6,63,662 208

4,991 14

6,54,765 220

3,906 2

Punjab

6,01,323 59

307 10

5,84,517 38

16,499 31

Assam

5,98,423 455

4,984 72

5,87,632 517

5,807 10

Jharkhand

3,48,125 9

55 1

3,42,937 10

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,393 11

267 6

3,35,736 17

7,390

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,069 128

1,461 32

3,22,191 159

4,417 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,140 234

1,616 54

2,11,871 177

3,653 3

Goa

1,75,583 85

810 36

1,71,478 48

3,295 1

Puducherry

1,25,517 54

867 56

1,22,818 109

1,832 1

Manipur

1,18,673 178

2,183 6

1,14,658 183

1,832 1

Tripura

83,905 51

346 10

82,750 40

809 1

Mizoram

81,460 1,731

15,140 1,008

66,057 721

263 2

Meghalaya

79,667 174

1,896 5

76,391 168

1,380 1

Chandigarh

65,188 7

41 4

64,329 3

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,126 56

410 12

53,444 67

272 1

Sikkim

30,971 16

654 59

29,937 74

380 1

Nagaland

30,907 43

467 17

29,786 59

654 1

Ladakh

20,737 7

138 4

20,392 3

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 1

10,666 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,359 3

8 3

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,600

13 0

7,458

129

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