Health department officials in Hyderabad are on high alert as the latest outbreak of swine flu (H1N1), also called pig influenza, has left at least five people dead in the city as of mid-October. Authorities have also reported four associated deaths in the Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh. Several other patients have been admitted to government hospitals in Kurnool for monitoring. The first swine flu death in Kurnool during the monsoon season was reported on October 12. All government hospitals in Hyderabad and Kurnool are currently on alert and have swine flu kits available to treat incoming patients. Pregnant women and the elderly especially are advised to take extra precautions.
India experiences regular seasonal influenza outbreaks, particularly during monsoon season (which runs from June to September). H1N1 is a contagious virus that can spread from human to human. Symptoms of the disease include a sudden onset of high fever, aching muscles, headache, and severe dizziness. Individuals most at risk include pregnant women, children, elderly persons, and otherwise immunocompromised people. In 2015, India experienced its worst outbreak of swine flu disease with over 42,500 cases reported, nearly 3000 of which proved fatal.
All those present in Hyderabad and Kurnool are advised to take basic hygienic measures to reduce their risk of contracting the flu (e.g., frequent hand washing) and to consider getting vaccinated. People developing the above symptoms are advised to seek medical attention.
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