Lucknow: Urging people to not panic in face of the spread of a disease, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday claimed that “flu is not a disease” and people develop cold and cough merely due to change in weather.
Inaugurating a month-long vaccination drive for children to prevent recurrence of Japanese encephalitis (JE) and acute encephalitis (AE) syndrome as part of fifth Mukhyamantri Arogya Mela in Lucknow’s Aurangabad, Adityanath said, "Yesterday, I found that there was information of some number of people dying of swine flu in Meerut. Flu is not a disease. When the weather changes, some people catch a cold. It is flu in itself. Based on what it causes, we call some as swine flu or bird flu or by any other name.”
While the world continues to grapple with coronavirus epidemic, in India, particularly in UP, cases of swine flu are on the rise. The death toll in the state has reached nine, six of which are from Meerut alone, and 17 Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) jawans have tested positive for swine flu in the district in the past 48 hours.
Emphasising upon the role of awareness in fighting the spread of any disease, Adityanath said, "Even if it has spread, do not create panic over it. For this, the Health Department should prepare a better action plan. Hospitals should be made aware of this in advance and special wards should be made there, so that it can be stopped from spreading," he said.
“There is no need to create panic. Instead, people should be made aware about it. People should be told about the ways of prevention and cure, and the health department needs to be alert,” he added.
According to data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), annual epidemics of flu result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness worldwide, and 2,90,000 to 6,50,000 respiratory deaths.
Recalling the deadly grip of Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, largely in eastern Uttar Pradesh as an annual malady, Adityanath said, "From 1977-78 to 2016, around 500 to 1,500 children died of encephalitis within three to four months every year. But through massive campaigns conducted by our government, we have been successful in reducing the death toll by 90 per cent," the chief minister said, adding that other diseases like Dengue and Kalazar too can be controlled like this.
He also cautioned media against spreading fear psychosis against spread of any disease.
"Our second effort should be to create awareness about cleanliness. To fight mosquito-borne diseases, constant fogging drives should be carried out," he said.
In the wake of increasing swine flu cases, the district hospital and other private hospitals in Meerut have been asked to increase the number of beds in the isolation wards.
Meerut Chief Medical Officer Raj Kumar said, "Out of the 27 PAC jawans of the Sixth Battalion admitted to the Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College (LLRMMC) with complaints of fever, cold and other similar symptoms, 17 have tested positive for swine flu. Hence, around 370 jawans in the battalion were given Tamiflu tablets and instructed to remain on the campus to prevent further spread of the infection. With this, the total number of swine flu cases in the district has gone up to 71."
The official said, "We have added 40 more beds in the isolation ward of the LLRMMC taking the total number to 56."