By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 11: The continued dry spell and above normal temperatures so far this rainy season have saved Hyderabad from the wrath of swine flu, while low temperatures played havoc in Pune.
Hyderabad initially led the swine flu cases in the country but the prolonged dry spell helped in the containment of the novel H1N1 virus that causes human influenza. Above normal temperatures coupled with proper planning by health authorities arrested the spread of the virus in the community. Unlike in Pune, the human influenza virus has not penetrated into the local community. Hyderabad has thus far recorded 74 positive cases and only a couple of them are locally contacted cases.
While day temperatures hovered between 33 and 37 degrees C in Hyderabad, the mercury did not cross 28 degrees C in the last 10 days in Pune. Added to the low temperature was the cloudy sky. In Pune the virus has penetrated into the community as all the fresh cases reported from there have been local residents.
"The climate has been cold in Pune and for several days we have not seen the sun in full brightness. The day temperature was also below normal," said G Dayanidhi, who frequents between Pune and Hyderabad on business.
Pune now leads the swine flu cases with about 270 positive cases and five of the 10 deaths reported in the country. In cold climate, the aerosols stay longer carrying the virus and thus the chances of infection are high during winter and rainy seasons.
"While environmental factors like low temperatures help in the fast spread of influenza virus, the host and viral factors determine the survival or otherwise of the patient. In case of Hyderabad, above normal temperatures helped in the containment of the virus. Since Pune has the maximum number of cases, it also
leads in terms of fatalities. The immunity of a patient (host) and the potent of the virus decide the fate," said senior physician Dr Aftab Ahmed of Apollo Hospitals.
Location of international airport in Hyderabad has also helped in the arrest of the virus from spreading to the locals. Those with swine flu symptoms were quarantined at the airport level itself and those who came into close contact with them had been kept under medical surveillance. But in the case of Pune, the international passengers, with the virus, landed in Mumbai airport and later spread the disease in the community.
Hyderabad district medical and health officer Dr Ch Jayakumari said they had prevented the virus from going to the secondary level in Hyderabad. "Had it gone into the community, it would have been catastrophic. Moreover, those in Hyderabad are nutritionally in an advantageous stage as compared to those living in western India," she said.
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