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Poor hygiene in India compounding the H1N1 attack

New Delhi, Feb 21 (G’nY) New service: A widespread Panic has gripped the masses in the last few months as swine flu or H1N1 flu spreads terror again claiming 703 lives country-wide and infecting 11,000 people as on 20th February 2015.
Swine flu is a flu virus similar to influenza that causes illness in pigs. In 2009, H1N1 was called a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO) because of its massive spread across the world.
The flu is contagious. Influenza viruses infect the cells lining the nose, throat and lungs. It spreads in the same way as seasonal flu. The virus spreads when one touches an infected surface or breathes cough and sneeze droplets in the air. People who have swine flu can be contagious one day before they have any symptoms, and as many as 7 days after they get sick.
In the current situation,poor hygiene in India both at general and personal level is compounding the problem. According to WHO “standard protocols to maintain hygiene are meant to reduce the risk of transmission of air borne and other pathogens from both recognized and unrecognized sources. They are the basic level of infection control precautions which are to be used, as a minimum, in the care of all patients as well all other individuals”.
The hygiene conditions and measures practiced by Indians stand in stark contrast to what is suggested. The idea of maintaining a clean environment by the people and the state is abhorrent. Fatality and incidence rates compared across countries for the 2009 swine flu pandemic reveal interesting facts. Developed countries, specifically United Kingdom and Canada, show very low fatalities despite similar incidence rates of swine flu as compared to India. Their ability to provide better facilities to their citizens and better hygiene regimes have perhaps minimized the death rates. Thus lives lost in India in 2009 to the disease stood at 2024, while in United kingdom and Canada death statistics were 429 and 425 respectively.

“It’s crucial for citizens to maintain hygiene. H1N1 flu is an air borne disease and chances are high for a person to come in contact with the flu when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.One can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. Thus, if people are ignorant of about maintaining required hygiene standards they are bound to get infected”, opines Dr. Charan Singh, Delhi’s nodal officer for swine flu.

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