KATHMANDU, March 30: Twenty cases of H1N1 influenza, generally known as swine flu, were detected in the Kathmandu Valley recently, according to health experts.
According to the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), one to two cases of H1N1 were detected in each 10 samples tested in the laboratory last week.
“Twenty cases of H1N1 influenza were found during the last seven days,” said Dr Raj Kumar Mahato, director at the NPHL. “We received samples from various hospitals of Valley,” he added. “No sample has been received from outside the Valley yet.”
H1N1 flu is in general known as swine flu as it was initially transmitted to humans from pigs. In course of time, the virus transformed by mutation and spreads from one person to another. It affects people generally when the season changes.
H1N1 influenza shows symptoms of coughing, difficulty in inhaling, and fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. “It looks like common cold in the beginning,” said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital.
However, it will have grave consequences for children, elderly people above 65 years, persons who have had organ transplantation, persons with asthma and lung problems, and HIV and Hepatitis-infected persons, according to Dr Pun.
“When people under these categories are infected by common cold, they should immediately visit the hospital,” he said. “We don't have shortage of medicine in the country.”
This season, a patient was first detected with H1N1 virus at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital on the last week of February. “We have heard that patients suffering from H1N1 flu were admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with support from ventilator in various hospitals of the Valley,” said Dr Pun.
However, no one has died of the disease, according to the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD). “It is not necessary to be terrified as it is similar to common cold or seasonal flu,” said Dr Bhim Acharya, director at the EDCD. “But it will be riskier in complicated situation if a patient has pneumonia,” he said. “We have been reported that the influenza has been found in Chitwan too.”