No abnormal rise in seasonal flu cases in country so far: Health ministry

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) There has been no abnormal rise in cases of seasonal flu in any part of the country as of now, the Union health ministry said on Monday, underlining that it is keeping a close watch on the situation through its Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme network.

Since the detection of the first case of Influenza-A H1N1 in 2009, India every year witnesses two peaks of this seasonal influenza — one from January to March and other in the post-monsoon season, the ministry said.

“As of now, there has been no abnormal alarming rise in cases of seasonal flu in any part of the country,” it stated in a statement.

A near real-time surveillance of cases of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) presenting in outdoor and indoor patient departments of health facilities is undertaken by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through the Indian Council of Medical Research’s network of laboratories across the country.

In view of various media reports regarding detection of avian influenza virus in cattle and milk in the US, a video conference under the chairmanship of the Director General of Health Services was also held on Sunday to review the current situation of seasonal influenza.

It was informed by experts that with use of proper hygienic practices such as boiling of milk and proper cooking of meat at adequate temperatures would help prevent the virus transmission from the product (if the virus is present) to the human beings, the statement said.

Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses which circulate in all parts of the world, and the cases are seen to increase during certain months globally.

Young children and the elderly with co-morbidities are the most vulnerable groups in context of seasonal influenza.

The health ministry has provided guidelines on categorisation of patients, treatment protocols and guidelines on ventilatory management to states and Union Territories. The National Centre for Disease Control has also advised state governments for vaccination of healthcare workers dealing with H1N1 cases.

“As of now, the situation is under control and is being monitored by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for seasonal and avian influenza viruses also,” the statement said.

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