New Delhi: A 23 month old baby in Texas, southern US is the first to die from swine flu outside of Mexico.
On a day that Germany became the eighth country to confirm cases of the spreading epidemic.
Swine flu has now reached the UK, Canada, Spain, New Zealand and Israel.
The country with the most deaths, Mexico is investigating the estimated 159 deaths and suspected 1600 cases of the virulent disease.
Six EU states are monitoring patients who could have the virus. Other nations also on alert and in checking mode are Australia, South Korea and Peru.
What you must know :
- There is no vaccine yet for this H1N1 virus, because this is a newly mutated virus. It is a virus that combines genetic material found in four viral strains, both human and animal.
- India has not yet reported any case of swine flu, though it is on alert. Screening passengers at nine international airports across the country is being strictly followed.
- Passengers with flu-like symptoms will be sent to a quarantine, officials say and thereafter sent for treatment.
- Treatment world-wide involves the anti-viral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, which the Indian government does have stockpiles of. There is an available stock of a million doses and an order for two million more is being placed.
- Health authorities in India have set up a toll-free number 1075 and 23921401 under the Integrated Diseases Surveillance Project for people to report flu-like symptoms.
- Treatment needs to begin within hours of the start of symptoms.
- A big cause for concern is that viruses become resistant to drugs, so there's no way to predict how long they'll stay effective.
Here's what you can do to try and protect yourself:
- Avoid travelling to affected areas.
- Watch out for regular flu-like symptoms and do consult your doctor if you're concerned.
- Remember basic hygiene practices.
- Cover your mouth when you're coughing and sneezing.
- Wash your hands regularly so as to minimise your chances of catching an infection.
- Stay away from infected people
- The virus spreads when you touch something with flu virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.