Ample medicine in stock for pandemic influenza

Kathmandu, August 3

Epidemiology and Disease Control Division organised a press meet here today to debunk myths and inform people about the current scenario of influenza infection.

Six patients have already lost their lives due to the infection since April 2. Two more deaths from Jhapa have yet to be confirmed.

A total of 202 people have tested positive for pandemic influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 while five cases of H3N2 influenza virus have been recorded. Eleven patients have tested postive for type B virus as per the data provided by EDCD. The data were collected from January 1 to August 3.

H1N1, H3N2, and H1N2 flu viruses are all subtypes of influenza A viruses. These subtypes are common in  human beings and in swine.

Swine flu is caused by variant influenza viruses. “It originates from pigs and is transmitted to humans by direct or indirect contact with infected pigs. Swine flu viruses are not efficient enough to cause human-to-human transmission whereas pandemic influenza A(H1N1) pdm 09 can spread among humans.

It transmits without the involvement of pigs. It is therefore categorised as seasonal influenza virus. Therefore, it is technically incorrect to name it as swine flu even though it originates from pigs,” elaborated Dr Bhim Acharya, director, Epidemiology and Diseases Control Division.

The virus transits from one person to another through respiratory droplets, from sharing personal belongings such as handkerchief and clothes. People suffering from the infection will show signs and symptoms such as high fever, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, headaches and body aches.

People are advised not to panic regarding the fatalities and the severity of the infection as Dr Acharya claims that there is ample stock of medicines for the treatment of influenza patients.

Dr Acharya also suggested to people to visit hospitals if they have influenza like illnesses.

“Every hospital has been informed to provide details of influenza patients for early treatment,” added Dr Acharya.

Dr Guna Nidhi Sharma, section chief for epidemiology advised people to wash hands with soap and water, drink plenty of fluids, and maintain a distance while talking with people and sit in a well-ventilated room to stay safe from infection.