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Swine flu on the rise in Gujarat, claims 116 lives

Ahmedabad, Mar 17 (): After the onset of winter, a total of 116 people were feared dead in Gujarat due to H1N1 virus with seven persons in various districts of the state reported dead on Saturday, said a senior health official adding that out of 633 infected in the state, 371 have been cured while 88 persons have been admitted and are under treatment in government hospitals and 56 are being treated in private health institutions.

Dinkar Raval, deputy director (epidemics) and state nodal officer for swine flu stated that two persons were said to have died on Saturday in Rajkot and Bhavnagar district each and one person reportedly died in Banaskantha district.

A four-member team from New Delhi visited Civil Hospitals – Jamnagar and Medical College in Rajkot and were satisfied to see the treatment offered in the hospitals to the patients suffering from H1N1. The state health department also provided with sufficient testing facilities in laboratories and disease-prevention measures were also carried out on regular basis.

As far as swine flu virus is concerned, it is indeed necessary to study the mutations step by step, said D T Mourya, director, NIV, who also added that small mutations at two positions in the virus’s genetic makeup were detected.

Mandeep Chadha, senior scientist deputy director, NIV said that small changes  were  detected at two positions – D97 N and K 283 of the amino acid in the haemagglutinin (HA) gene of the swine flu virus. Similarly, observation regarding mutation was made at two positions in US, Singapore and Mexico, added Mr Chadha.

Genetic characterization shows that the viruses largely collected in clade 7 are the most widely circulating pH1N1 clade. A recently published research article of the NIV scientists claims that it is very important to continue supervising the genetic make-up of the pH1N1 viruses to know the adaptability and evolutionary dynamics in the country.

The study thus demands the need for constant observation and genetic characterization of whole sequences to notice any re-assortment actions which might probably contribute to the viral fitness of the pH1N1 viruses.