Swine flu epidemic reaches Nagaland; one tested positive
KOHIMA, FEBRUARY 17
The state health department’s surveillance network on Tuesday confirmed that a case of H1N1 flu (also called swine flu) has been detected in Nagaland. The victim is being treated in a hospital.
State Nodal Officer for Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), Dr. Tiasunup Pongener informed that throat/nasal swabs from a suspected case, a young Naga woman, which were sent to the Regional Medical Research Centre, Dibrugarh had tested positive. The patient is said to have travelled extensively in the past week and had had typical flu symptoms for several days. It was revealed that she has also travelled by flight from Kolkata to Dimapur on February 13. Although the patient’s condition is reported to be stable, the department has put up an alert and advised all the passengers who flew from Kolkata to Dimapur on the same day to seek timely medical attention from any district hospital if they develop high fever with cough and cold within a week’s time.
Dr. Pongener told Eastern Mirror that it was good as the patient sought medical help on time, but on the other hand he expresses apprehension that a single confirmed case could create a fear psychosis in the minds of the public.
“This is an imported case, and the patient has been kept in isolation from the day she was admitted to the hospital… She is now in a stable condition,” he said. He asserted that H1N1 flu is like any other flu but the virus is more virulent, and the patients will have higher fever and experience breathlessness. The most important step is to isolate the patient, he added.
“Timely medical help for any illness is necessary… If anyone gets any flu-like symptoms, avoid self medication and go to a doctor,” the medical official stressed, pointing out that many people have the habit of treating themselves with over-the-counter drugs.
Meanwhile, State Surveillance Officer IDSP, Dr. John Kemp has reassured that a surveillance network has already been established in the past to check epidemic potential diseases.
“We have District Surveillance Units (DSUs) in all the districts and all the DSUs have already been alerted two weeks ago,” he said. These DSUs consists of a district surveillance officer, and at least two doctors in about 5-6 member team. He also emphasized that people need not have “phobia” over the slightest flu symptoms as it is currently a season for high occurrence of common flu cases.
He also informed that during the 2009 swine flu epidemic, out of about 30 samples sent out from Nagaland, only one had tested positive.
It was learnt that state’s top medical officials held a hurriedly convened emergency meeting on H1N1 this afternoon to discuss steps to tackle the situation if there is an outbreak. Immediate procurement of antiviral drug to counter H1N1 flu from the central government and proposal to the government for logistics support and contingency fund were said to have been discussed at the meeting.
H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) is transmitted from human-to-human by infected particles in the air and is not transmitted by pigs.
Fever, Cough, Sore Throat, Runny Nose, Difficulty in Breathing
* Cover mouth and nose with a handkerchief or cloth while coughing or sneezing;
* Wash your hand with soap frequently before and after touching your nose, eyes and mouth;
* Stay away from public places if you have fever or you are coughing and sneezing;
* Sleep well, stay physically active and effectively manage stress;
* Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food;
* Visit a doctor after covering your face with a cloth or mask, if you have any flu-like symptoms.
* Don’t shake hands, hug and kiss socially, or use other contact greetings;
* Don’t touch your mouth/nose;
* Don’t take medicines without consulting the physician;
* Don’t spit in public places.
IDSP, Health & Family Welfare, Government of Nagaland
24×7 Helpline: 8413095255