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Topics covered:

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.




What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of H1N1.

For Mains: Spread, causes, symptoms and prevention.


Context: In India, the past decade saw as many as 1.58 lakh persons being infected by H1N1 virus and over 10,000 succumbing to it.


Key facts:

  1. Maharashtra toll highest and Rajasthan worst hit in 2019.
  2. Unlike the temperate countries, where peak influenza activity is recorded in winters, in the tropical and sub-tropical countries, the primary peak of influenza activity is during the monsoon. However, in some places, influenza also peaks during winters and in some tropical countries, influenza sustains throughout the year.
  3. Overcrowding leads to increased transmission of airborne infection. Some areas in the country may have a sparse population but with diagnostic testing facilities being set up, more cases are being detected.


About H1N1 Virus:

Swine flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease in pigs caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses.

Transmission of swine influenza viruses to humans is uncommon. However, the swine influenza virus can be transmitted to humans via contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine influenza viruses.

Symptoms are cough, fever, soar throat , stuffy or runny nose, headache, body ache etc. 

The sub-types are based on: The host of the origin, Geographical origin, Strain in number, Year of isolation etc.


Spreading of Seasonal Influenza (H1N1):

  1. Seasonal influenza viruses circulate and cause disease in humans every year.
  2. In tropical climates, disease tends to occur seasonally as well as regular virus spreading from person-to-person through sneezing, coughing, or touching contaminated surfaces. 
  3. Seasonal influenza viruses evolve continuously, which means that people can get infected multiple times throughout their lives.


Diagnosis and treatment:

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommend real-time polymerase chain reaction as the method of choice for diagnosing H1N1.

Antiviral drugs are the mainstay of clinical treatment of swine influenza and can make the illness milder and enable the patient to feel better faster.


Prevention of swine influenza has 3 components: prevention in swine, prevention of transmission to humans, and prevention of its spread among humans.

Because of limited treatment options, high risk for secondary infection, and frequent need for intensive care of individuals with H1N1 pneumonia, environmental control, including vaccination of high-risk populations and public education are critical to control of swine influenza out breaks.

Sources: Indian Express.