The prevalence of swine flu is severe across India, with the death toll reaching close to 1000. New swine flu cases have been reported across the country, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Nagaland and Bihar.
As per the latest figures released by Health Ministry, the fatal disease has claimed 965 lives so far, while total number of people tested positive till February 25, 2015 has also increased to 16,235. Rajasthan and Gujarat have been the worst-hit states so far with 234 and 231 deaths, respectively.
According to Skymet Meteorology Division in India, unusual weather conditions prevailing across the country have aggravated the situation and with the rainy days expected ahead, there is a possibility of steep rise in the numbers.
Consecutive Western Disturbances and induced cyclonic circulations will give rainy spell across north and Northwest India, commencing from Saturday evening till March 3.
This has raised serious concerns over H1N1 influenza, as weather has played major role in intensifying the flu this season. In a bid to curtail spread of deadly virus, it is necessary for temperatures to rise and drop in humidity levels, which is not expected to happen anytime soon.
Gujarat state government has also imposed a ban on most public gatherings of five or more people in Ahmedabad in a bid to halt the spread of swine flu. Officials have also asked people to wear mask as precautionary measure. In 2014, 937 cases were reported in total, including 218 deaths.
Weather is a key factor in letting the virus sustain and spread. The virus survives comfortably in the winter season and even during the spring, since the temperature does not shoot up much. Low temperatures and high humidity is making the environment conducive for the H1N1 virus to proliferate.
Back to back weather systems this season have kept the humidity levels high and have also influenced the wind pattern across the plains of northwest India and adjoining areas, resulting in swine flu virus to sustain for a longer period.
Moreover, a spell of rain between February 28 and March 02 will cover larger parts of the country including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, which might lead to further spreading of the swine flu virus.
Doctors are hoping for some respite, only once hot and dry days set in with mercury rising. Till then, increased awareness and proper precautionary measures are the only recourse. Government has also directed states to provide protective kits to health workers.