H1N1 influenza has claimed 23 lives in Kerala so far this year with the state recording higher incidence of the flu compared to the previous year, a health department officials said.
A total of 300-400 swine flu cases had been confirmed so far across the state and out of them as many as 23 people had died, they said.
State Nodal Officer for H1N1 Amar Fettle said the increase in the incidence of the disease this year was registered not only in Kerala but also in entire south India. Stating that there was no need for any panic, he said necessary steps had been taken to check the spread of the flu.
All government hospitals, including primary health centres, have been equipped with enough quantity of medicines and guidelines issued with regard to the treatment. "This year, 27 per cent of samples of throat swabs tested from affected people were found to be positive for H1N1," said Fettle.
The official said the influenza was first spotted in the state in 2009. Since then, the disease had become a seasonal one in the region. "People suffering from diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular issues, cancer and HIV among others and pregnant women are considered to be the high risk or vulnerable group," he said.
Detailing the state health department's preparedness in this regard, he said the latest information, updates and guidelines about H1N1 was available in the official website of the Directorate of Health Services.
Anybody, including private hospitals, can avail the service of state-run 'Disha', 24X7 tele helpline, to get necessary information and treatment protocol related to the disease, he said. A programme to sensitise and create awareness about various aspects of the disease is already on in government hospitals, he said.
The official also wanted people, affected with common cold and suspected fever, to stay at home and take plenty of hot and nourishing fluids.