Karnataka prepares for possible second wave of swine flu


Bangalore: With winter approaching and experts fearing a second wave of swine flu attacks, Karnataka health authorities say they are well prepared to prevent the spread of the disease that has killed 111 people in the state so far.

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“There is nothing to fear. We are well prepared to tackle the second wave of Influenza A(H1N1),” state Health Commissioner P.N. Srinivasachari told IANS Saturday.

Karnataka registered the second largest number of H1N1 deaths in the country, after neighbouring Maharashtra.

Of the 111 deaths, 82 were in Bangalore.

“We have arranged awareness programmes on swine flu at district level to make people take preventive measures to stop the spread of the virus. The programmes will start in a week’s time,” Srinivasachari said.

The Song and Drama Division of the government “will help us to conduct street plays on swine flu in rural areas”, he added.

Srinivasachari said there was a possibility of fresh H1N1 influenza attack in the state in the coming months. Britain is already witnessing the second wave of flu spread, he pointed out.

The state’s first private laboratory to test swab samples for H1N1 virus has started functioning at Narayana Nethralaya, a leading eye-care hospital, about 15 km from the city centre.

The state-run National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) was the only swab testing laboratory so far.

Health authorities have also launched a campaign through state-run electronic media and posters urging people to maintain personal hygiene.

“Personal hygiene is a must, with the fear that coming of winter season might further increase the spread of H1N1 virus. Basic steps like washing hands with an anti-germ solution or soap, before and after eating food is a simple way to protect from swine flu disease,” Principal Secretary (Health) I.R. Perumal told IANS.

On the large number of H1N1 deaths in the state, Perumal said “we’ve found that delay in treatment of the disease and administration of Tamiflu are the primary reasons for the death toll”.