Mumbai recorded 141 influenza cases in 2023, says BMC report

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s ‘Influenza status report Mumbai’ released on Tuesday, March 28, shows that the city reported 141 cases and zero deaths this year, 2023. The report shows 19, 46, and 76 cases were reported in January, February, and March (till March 27), respectively. “There are 14 patients admitted: 9 with H3N2 and 5 with H1N1. All of these patients are currently in stable condition,” read the report. Here is the list of measures that BMC said in its report that it has “undertaken to control Influenza in Mumbai”: Also read: Maha: Two die of suspected influenza; health machinery put on alert, says minister - Oseltamivir is made available free of cost in all Medical colleges, Municipal Hospitals, Dispensaries, and maternity homes in Mumbai. Sufficient stock of Oseltamivir is made available for treating the patients at respective institutions. Buffer stock to tackle any emergency is available at all major hospitals. - Testing Facility available at Kasturba Hospital (400 Kits Available) and KEM hospital (400 Kits Available) . Daily testing capacity of both hospitals is 200 samples each. - Admission facility in the form of Isolation beds is available at Kasturba Hospital, all the four Medical Colleges i.e. Sion, K.E.M, Cooper and Nair Hospital and 17 Peripheral Hospitals. The facility for ventilatory support is available at these hospitals. All the major Private Hospitals have facilities for treating Influenza positive patients. - Guidelines are circulated to all Private practitioners that if fever doesn’t subside within 24 hours Oseltamivir shall be immediately started without waiting for results of diagnostic tests (Swab is not mandatory in such cases). Also Guidelines are issued to Health post staff to conduct house to house surveys to identify fever patients and give health awareness activities in area. "Avoid visiting crowded places ,Cover nose while sneezing and coughing, Complete bed rest when suffering from fever, sore throat, cold, cough, body ache like symptoms," read the report citing it as "precautionary measures to be taken by citizens."

28 March,2023 03:57 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Quash the myths around pubic hair to ensure a healthy and hygienic aura for your intimate parts. Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium Debunking common myths about pubic hair

Let’s address the elephant in the room: the pubic hair. Irrespective of gender identities, the desirability to have smooth, glossy skin has increased manifold over the past few decades. People enjoy the feel of shaved skin for optics as well as physical touch. Some also believe that a clean skin paves way for hygiene in their intimate areas. But how legitimate is the claim, clinically? Sahil Arora, 29, gets his boy-bits waxed every three weeks. In a conversation with, he reveals that he is waxed by the same male beautician who services Hrithik Roshan. When asked about why he chooses to get waxed, he said “I have a strong aversion towards body hair since my adolescence. Not only my intimate parts, but I also get my chest waxed to feel comfortable in my skin.” Dr Anagha Chhatrapati, consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician, Global Hospital, Parel shares that the role of pubic hair has evolved with over generations. “In ancient times, it was a marker of sexual maturity and would help people choose the right mate for reproductive functions.” To understand the role of pubic hair in human anatomy, we spoke to obstetricians and gynaecologists from Mumbai. Myths about pubic hairWith a lackadaisical sex education system in the country, there are multiple myths that have sprouted up around pubic hair. Dr Pratima Thamke, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar debunks common myths with fact-based evidences: Myth: Pubic hair is a sign of bad hygieneFact: The presence of pubic hair is a signifier of good sanitation. If someone has pubic hair, it does not mean that their intimate parts are unhygienic. On the contrary, pubic hair serves the purpose of trapping sweat, oil and bacteria. It also prevents harmful microorganisms from coming in contact with the fragile skin of the genitals. However, care has to be maintained in cleaning the pubes at regular intervals. Due to hair growth, there is a natural smell associated with the intimate parts which is completely natural and can be eradicated with a deep wash. Myth: Pubic hair makes sex less pleasurableFact:  Many women and men as well believe that pubic hair causes friction between two bodies leading to a messy sexual act. However, the presence of pubic hair provides a natural cushion and grip while performing intimate acts with your partner. Additionally, it traps the exchange of bacteria and candida (fungi) which prevents you from acquiring infections. Myth: The colour of the hair on one’s head and pubic hair is sameFact: This statement is false as there is very minimal correlation between the colour on your head and the colour on your pubes. Doctors are of the opinion that there can be similarities, however, it all boils down to melanin. Melanin is the substance responsible for the production of hair and skin pigmentation. A high melanin would imply high growth of hair and darkening of body parts which undergo friction, for e.g. under arms and genitals. Due to increased friction down there, there will be an increased melanin production which can lead to darker hair down there. Myth: Pubic hair will grow endlesslyFact: Unlike the hair on our head which continues to grow, pubic hair does not grow forever. After reaching a certain point, it stops. This stage is subjective to each individual and the length at which it stops growing varies from person to person. The average range of pubic hair growth lies between 0.5 to 2.0 inches. Myth: One should never remove their pubic hairFact: This myth is not only wrong but can be life-risking as well for those who believe in it. If not cleaned for long, pubic care can cause abrasion, ingrown hairs, folliculitis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Even dirt and sweat will get trapped in the hair leading to a bad odour. It can also lead to redness, burning, and itchiness down there. It is advised to remove pubic hair well within 40 days to ensure sanitation and hygiene in your private bits. Myth: Pubic hair wards off diseasesFact: The underlying fact is opposite in certain cases. If one does not clean their pubic hair at regular intervals they might be housing one or the other STD. As the pubic hair traps bacteria and other microorganisms, it needs a robust mechanism to wash off the dirt. If you are not cleaning them at proper intervals, your pubes can become a housing ground for a host of diseases. Purpose of pubic hair in human anatomy: 1 As with eyelashes and nasal hair, pubic hair has the potential benefit of preventing the entry of harmful bacteria into the genital areas. 2 Pubic hair offers protection against friction leading to skin irritation in this sensitive area. It helps to deal with the amount of sweat produced down there. It helps block your vagina/penis from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 3 Pubic hair reduces the friction during sexual intimacy but providing a cushiony base. It also keeps the organs warm, increasing sexual pleasure. Tips to maintain clean pubic hair: 1. Whether you decide to grow pubic hair or keep them trimmed, cleaning and maintaining hygiene should be a daily ritual.2. Washing the hair with mild soap during the shower keeps the germs at bay and also removes dirt and discharge from getting stuck in there.3. Also, clean your intimate area thoroughly from front to back, after urinating and excreting.4. After Washing the hair, dab lightly with a dry towel to keep the area dry. Dampness of hair with wet undergarments is an invitation to infections. Safe measures for removing pubic hair: Hair removal creamThe safest and most painless way to get rid of hair down there are hair removal creams. Care has to be maintained in finding the right fit for your skin type to avoid any irritation or rashes. Keep the following measures in mind for a fail safe experience: a) Do allergy testing on small portion of skin on elbow before usingb) Avoid contact with vagina/ inner parts to avoid irritationc) Don't use expired products ShavingOne of the quickest ways to remove pubic hair is shaving. However, shaving can cause exfoliation of skin around the hair roots and thus facilitating the entry of bacteria inside causing boils. This is especially true if hygiene is not observed. While shaving, ensure the following: a) Use new blade after 2-3 usesb) Keep the razor blade dry, wash off hair after use, to prevent rusting. Never use a rusted bladec) Use shaving foam or soap for frictionless shavingd) Shave in direction of haire) Apply emollient after shaving to prevent irritationf) Use loose undergarments for few days to prevent friction with newly grown hair after shaving WaxingWaxing is another efficient way which not only removes pubic hair, but dead skin as well. The results are often long lasting with the next batch of hair appearing after 3-4 weeks. For people who prefer waxing, keep the following tips in mind:a) Avoid too hot wax to prevent burning of delicate pubic areab) Can seek professional helpc) Don't reuse the straps LASER treatmentThe pubic hair growth can be completely eradicated only with help of permanent hair removal solutions like LASER treatment. In LASER hair removal, a protective gel is applied on skin and then LASER current is applied. This causes damage to the hair root causing loss of hair. Multiple sessions are required for long lasting effects. How to take care of pubic hair in scorching heat?Dr Pratima shares a home remedy to maintain hygiene in private parts during the scorching heat of Mumbai. Soak the area in warm water to soften the hair. Apply a generous amount of unscented shaving cream, gel, or soap and shave it properly. It is better to wear an undergarment of breathable and loose fabric such as cotton to avoid odour and friction of hair. Do not use any chemical products down there.Also Read: Follow these 8 tips to nail the 'no-makeup' look

28 March,2023 01:23 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
A Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray (HBT) clinic

Mumbai: Aapla dawakhana doctors trained to spot anxiety stress

Trained by experts from NIMHANS, doctors at civic-run dispensaries and 16 peripheral hospitals can now identify symptoms of mental health conditions, like stress, anxiety, depression, civic officials have said. Each HBT polyclinic will have two psychiatrists to take on serious cases. More than 300 doctors at BMC’s dispensaries or aapla dawakhana and peripheral hospitals have been trained, following the central government’s direction to all states for mental health programmes at district level. Requesting anonymity, a senior civic health official said, “Doctors at BMC dispensaries had been treating patients with cold, cough and fever, but now they have been trained to identify mental health illnesses, too. People can approach them if they think they need help.” Also Read: Mumbai logs 66 Covid-19 cases, state records 205 The BMC runs over 200 dispensaries, which have been converted into Hinduhridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray (HBT) clinics and polyclinics to provide better services. Experts from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) along with professionals from the state’s health department have been training the doctors. Dr Daksha Shah, the deputy executive health officer, BMC, said, “We started the training programme in March, as per the module prepared by NIMHANS. We have trained 300 doctors, and the training of 50 more will be complete by the end of March. This will help in identifying mental health issues in the people at primary level. Depending on the condition, patients will be referred to the psychiatrist. The BMC will appoint two psychiatrists at each HBT polyclinic for treatment.” The BMC also plans to spread awareness about the central government’s Tele MANAS, a toll-free helpline to avail mental health care service. People suffering from stress, anxiety, mood swings, etc. can call on 14416 or 1-800 891 4416 and counsellors will provide assistance. 300No. of doctors trained so far

28 March,2023 05:56 AM IST | Mumbai | Suraj Pandey
The reception area of Tata Memorial Hospital. File pic/Ashish Raje

Mumbai: Initiative to assist chemo patients remotely takes off

While undergoing chemotherapy, cancer patients tend to experience side effects. To provide relief to such patients in a timely manner, Tata Memorial Hospital has started a chemo care unit where assistance will be given over phone calls. Every day, over a thousand patients undergo chemotherapy at Tata Memorial Hospital. The medical oncology department of the hospital believes that more than 50 per cent of them experience side effects due to the treatment. Dr Kumar Prabhas from the department of medical oncology said that preparations for the project began in August 2022 and 10 nurses were trained for two months regarding the management of side effects related to chemotherapy. After this, the nurses were deployed to the chemo care unit in three shifts, so that patients can contact them 24×7. As a pilot project, the unit was started in November 2022 and has benefited more than 2,000 patients so far. Now, this service will be offered to patients permanently. How the unit operates When chemotherapy is prescribed, patients are given the telephone numbers of the chemo care unit which they can contact if they experience side effects after receiving chemotherapy. Nurses assess the severity of patients’ complaints and if they are minor, the nurses advise the patients about appropriate lifestyle or dietary modifications or suggest medicines that are already prescribed for the patient. If the complaints are found to be serious in nature, patients are advised to visit either the nearest clinic or the casualty department at Tata Memorial Hospital. Also Read: Gang of quacks runs amok in Mumbai cancer hospitals If a patient goes to a nearby clinic or hospital, the nurses coordinate with the doctors there and ensure that the patient’s complaints are addressed. And if the patient visits Tata Memorial Hospital’s casualty department, the nurses coordinate with the on-call doctor and ensure that the patients are treated in the shortest possible time. A logbook is also maintained by nurses and it contains details such as the patient’s name, case number, chemotherapy drugs, complaints, interventions made by nurses, resolution/nonresolution of problems and a schedule to ensure that the problem is solved.

28 March,2023 05:53 AM IST | Mumbai | Suraj Pandey
Image used for representational purpose. Pic/iStock

Influenza cases: Maha reports 318 H3N2 and 432 H1N1 cases in 2023

A release by the Maharashtra government on Thursday showed that the state reported 3,36,518 suspected influenza cases in 2023 (From January 1 to March 26). Among them, 1851 suspected flu patients were given oseltamivir -- an antiviral medication used to treat and prevent influenza A and influenza B, viruses that cause the flu. It further shows that the number of infected patients of H1N1 and H3N2 during the same period are 432 and 318, respectively. While three deaths are reported due to H1N1 infection, whereas one H3N2 suspected death is also reported. However, the release added a note saying, "Apart from this 3 suspicious deaths have been reported. Out of which 1 death is from Washim, 1 death is from Khadki Cantonment Board and 1 death is from Pune Municipal. The cause of all these deaths will be ascertained after post-mortem." Also read: Maharashtra: 73-year-old man who tested positive for H3N2 virus dies in Pimpri-Chinchwad As a part of preventive and remedial measures, the release stated that "routine patient survey for covid-19/influenza resident survey instructions have been issued." "Similarly, all District Health Officers, District Surgeons and Medical Health Officers of the state have been instructed by the VC," it read. The release also mentioned that "flu-like patients are treated without delay according to classification." "Isolation rooms have been set up in government hospitals as well as medical college hospitals in the state," it added.

27 March,2023 10:15 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Image used for representational purpose. Pic/iStock

Global rise in tuberculosis worries health experts

The rise in tuberculosis (TB) cases in India and globally has become a matter of concern for health experts.  They claim COVID infections lead to an increase in the incidence of TB. The temporary immunosuppressive effects of COVID, lung damage, and the steroids used to treat the virus have lead to the reactivation of either previous infection or latent TB or the development of new TB. Meanwhile, health experts have welcomed the patent of wonder drug Bedaquiline coming to an end in July, which they say will allow pharma companies to make a generic version that is affordable. Mid-day, in its June 25, 2020 report ‘Experts warns of tuberculosis outbreak amidst COVID-19 pandemic’, highlighted how thousands of migrant workers had to quit taking their multidrug resistant (MDR) TB medicines midway due to the lockdown, increasing the spread of the disease to remote villages. Dr Wiqar Shaikh, professor of medicine, Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, explained that TB is a common disease worldwide. Dr Shaikh said that the TB-causing bacteria, mycobacterium tuberculosis was discovered by Robert Koch, who was the director of the Royal Prussian Institute for Infectious Diseases in Germany. For his discovery, Koch was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1905. Dr Shaikh added that although the bacteria was discovered in 1882, TB has been around in the world for approximately 3 million years. He also highlighted the association of Koch with his institution (Grant Medical College) where the latter worked on the cholera-causing organism, Vibrio cholera. Alarming numbers Dr Shaikh stated that according to the World Health Organisation, there were 10.6 million cases of TB worldwide in 2022. The National TB Prevalence Survey of 2022 said that there were a total of almost 26 lakh TB cases in India in 2022, or 316 cases per lakh population, a jump of 19 per cent from the previous year. Indeed, as per the WHO Global TB Report of 2022, India is considered a high TB country and more than 26 per cent of TB cases in the world are from India. Dr Shaikh said that in the world, almost 13 lakh people died of TB in 2022 and five lakh were Indians. Delhi is considered the TB capital of India, and last year the incidence of TB in Delhi was 737 cases per one lakh of the population, which is much higher than the national average. The severe MDR TB affects about 1.24 lakh Indians, an average of nine cases per one lakh people. Dr Shaikh explained that the two tests used to determine MDR TB were the GeneXpert and the MGIT tests. The latter GeneXpert determines whether the patient is resistant to Rifampicin, the first-line drug used in the treatment of TB. The former test determines whether TB bacteria will grow in an MGIT tube in the presence of TB drugs. If the bacteria grow, MDR TB is confirmed. Ramp up testing Dr Shaikh added that the common drugs used to treat MDR TB were Bedaquiline, Pretomanid, Delamanid and Terizidone. Bedaquiline, he explained, was one of the earliest MDR drugs and was discovered by Koen Andries at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, now part of Johnson & Johnson. The company will be losing its patent on Bedaquiline and one can expect cheaper versions to come out in India. Dr Shaikh lamented the fact that the TB Alliance, the largest TB organisation in the world, has virtually no presence in India. He said that people are not aware of when to obtain medical assistance when they get symptoms suspected to be TB. Dr Shaikh also suggested that to bring TB under control in India, we need to ramp up testing and ensure widespread availability of drugs, particularly in rural areas, and also have health personnel frequently visit homes to detect and treat cases. COVID and TB Dr Ketan Vagholkar, professor of Surgery at Dy Patil Medical College, said, "There has been a surge in the incidence of TB during and after the pandemic. Diagnosis of TB during the pandemic was difficult and invariably delayed, causing disseminated TB. Difficulty in securing anti-TB medication during the pandemic added to the problems. This led to complications and drug-resistant TB.” He added, “COVID itself leads to an increase in the incidence of TB. The temporary immunosuppressive effects of infection. lung damage and the steroids used to treat COVID-19 have played a direct role in immunosuppression, leading to the reactivation of either previous infection or latent TB or the development of new TB. Diagnosis is a big challenge as there is a significant overlap of pulmonary or respiratory symptoms, especially between long COVID and its variants and pulmonary TB. Patients with comorbidities had a very bad prognosis. It is necessary that citizens experiencing unremitting pulmonary symptoms meticulously follow up with their physician, especially the elderly and those suffering from comorbidities such as diabetes.” TB re-emerging in city Dr Subhash Hira, professor of global health at the University of Washington-Seattle and former Vice-Chair of the Global Fund-Geneva’s technical board whose experts successfully led the global control of infectious diseases, said, “About one-quarter of the world's population of 8 billion is infected with TB mycobacteria. But only a small proportion of those infected get sick. People with weakened immune systems eg HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, anaemia, chronic illnesses etc are at much greater risk of falling ill from TB. A person living with HIV is about ten times more likely to develop active TB in his or her lifetime. Many services were disrupted by the pandemic in 2020-22 but its impact on the TB control programme has been particularly severe. This is the first time in several years that an upward trend has been reported in the number of people developing both TB and MDR TB. Epidemiologists have attributed this trend to the pandemic." He added, "There was under-reporting or under-diagnosis of ill persons or poor laboratory testing for TB leading to ‘missed TB cases’. There has been a decline in the global budget for TB diagnosis and control expenditures from US$6 billion in 2019 to $5.4 billion in 2021; almost half of the required annual budget of $13 billion. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the prevalent cases of TB in the world have doubled to 45 million cases: thus the global spending per case of TB has reduced to $130 per year, which is about R10,000, far less than the optimum requirement, which should have $260 per year per patient.” Dr Hira stated that though the number of new TB cases dropped in 2020 and the restrictions in mass movements and universal usage of masks did reduce significant community transmission of TB, the later trend of work-from-home increased the vulnerability of home-bound women to TB and it is the number of new women and male TB patients are the same.”  Testing is overlooked at times Dr Santosh Bansode, emergency medicine specialist, said that because health professionals are concentrating on diagnosing COVID, testing for TB is overlooked sometimes. “Any patient with a cough that lasts more than three weeks should be screened for TB. Weight loss and general weakness are seen later. In pulmonary TB, we see fever along with cough. Anyone who has a prolonged cough and experiences weakness, weight loss and reduced appetite should be tested for TB. The public should be made aware of doses and length of treatment and encouraged to complete the course of treatment. TB can be fully cured if diagnosed at an early stage and complete treatment is taken. So early diagnosis is very important and TB symptoms should not be missed and testing and screening should be done as early as possible.” Wonder drug patent almost over Bedaquiline, which costs approximately R35,000, will cost to a few hundred rupees now that its patent is ending, according to Dr Hira. “If the cost of Bedaquiline goes down, more people can use it. The government should provide this drug free of cost to poor patients with routine TB medicines in case of MDR TB on the advice of a doctor. In diseases like TB, poor people develop drug resistance if they discontinue or fail to complete the treatment due to any reason,” said Dr Bansode. Scene in the rest of the world According to Dr Hira, “In 2022, the top eight countries that have two-thirds of TB cases are India (28 per cent), Indonesia (9.2 per cent), China (7.4 per cent), the Philippines (7 per cent), Pakistan (5.8 per cent), Nigeria (4.4 per cent), Bangladesh (3.6 per cent) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2.9 per cent). There are several major challenges to global TB elimination by 2030; these include a rise in MDR-TB to 4.5 lakh new cases in 2021.” Box: Rise in new TB cases* Year Global (in millions) India (in millions) Mumbai 2019 7.1 2.14 60,387 2020 5.8 1.63 43,224 2021 10.6 2.3 60,000 2022 11.0 (estimated)  2.8 (estimated) 65,616 *as stated by Dr Subhash Hira

27 March,2023 10:01 PM IST | Mumbai | Vinod Kumar Menon
Image used for representational purpose. Pic/iStock

Maha logs 205 COVID-19 cases, including 66 in Mumbai; toll stays unchanged

Maharashtra on Monday reported 205 COVID-19 cases, which took the state's tally to 81,42,059, while the death toll stood unchanged at 1,48,435, a health official said. The state had reported 397 cases on Sunday, he pointed out. Mumbai circle led with 135 cases, followed by 43 in Pune circle, nine in Kolhapur circle, eight in Nashik circle, five in Nagpur circle, three in Aurangabad circle and two cases in Akola circle. The 135 cases in Mumbai circle include 66 in the metropolis, the official added. The tally in Mumbai stood at 11,55,527, while the toll stood unchanged at 19,747, he said. The recovery rate increased in the state by 110 to touch 79,91,412, leaving Maharashtra with an active tally of 2,212. Also read: Covid cases in Himachal: Hamirpur administration urges people to wear face masks The active tally includes 618 in Pune district, 589 in Mumbai and 399 in Thane, he said. So far, 8,65,85,260 coronavirus tests have been conducted in the state, including 2,249 in the last 24 hours, the official said. As per state health department data, the recovery rate is 98.15 per cent and the fatality rate stands at 1.82 per cent. Coronavirus figures of Maharashtra are as follows: Positive cases : 81,42,059; fresh cases: 205; death toll 1,48,435; recoveries 79,91,412 ; active cases 2,212; total tests: 79,91,412. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

27 March,2023 07:57 PM IST | Mumbai | PTI
Representative image. Pic/Istock

Covid preparedness: Union Health Secretary to hold meeting with States

The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan will hold a meeting with States' health secretaries and senior officers on Monday evening, via video conferencing, to review the preparedness for COVID-19. A nationwide mock drill is being planned for April 10-11 in which health facilities from all the districts are expected to participate. The details of the drill will be communicated in the meeting today. Recently the Union Health Secretary and Dr Rajiv Bahl, DG, ICMR issued a letter to the States/UTs chief secretaries and Sr Health Officers regarding keeping a close watch on the evolving etiologies (causes of diseases) of influenza. "States and UTs must keep a close watch on the evolving etiologies (causes of diseases) which is Influenza Like Illness (ILI) & Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases. India usually sees a seasonal rise in influenza cases from January to March & again from August to October. Presently, the most prominent subtypes of Influenza in circulation in the country seem to be influenza A (H1N1) and influenza A (H3N2)," the advisory stated. Also read: Maharashtra: 50 per cent of new Covid-19 cases are XBB.1.16 There are a few states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamilnadu that have reported the maximum number of COVID-19 cases in the country. But hospitalization remains low in these states. The Union health secretary highlighted the precautions that need to be taken by the people. "As you may be aware, COVID-19 and influenza share a number of similarities in terms of mode of transmission, high-risk population, clinical signs and symptoms. While this may present a clinical dilemma for the attending doctors in terms of diagnosis, this also renders both these diseases easily preventable by following simple public health measures like avoiding overcrowded and poorly ventilated settings, using a handkerchief/tissue while sneezing or coughing, wearing a mask in crowded & closed settings, maintaining hand hygiene, avoiding spitting in public places, etc," the advisory further said. The Union Health Secretary also mentioned that States should maintain the optimum testing for COVID-19 preparedness. "In the past several weeks, in some States COVID-19 testing has declined & the current testing levels are insufficient as compared to the standards prescribed by WHO i.e 140 tests/million. Testing at the level of districts & blocks also varies, with some States heavily relying on the less sensitive rapid antigen tests. Hence it is critical to maintaining optimum testing for COVID-19, equitably distributed (with suitable modifications to address the emergence of new clusters of Covid cases) across the States. This is especially important to identify any emerging hotspots & take pre-emptive steps to curb virus transmission". (ANI)  

27 March,2023 11:29 AM IST | New Delhi | ANI
A health worker collects a swab sample for Covid-19 test. File Pic

India records 1,805 new Covid-19 cases, active tally at 10,300

India has logged 1,805 new coronavirus cases, while the active cases have surpassed the 10,000-mark after 134 days, according to Union health ministry data updated on Monday. According to news agency PTI, the daily positivity rate has been recorded at 3.19 per cent and the weekly positivity rate at 1.39 per cent. The active cases have increased to 10,300, the data stated.  The death toll has increased to 5,30,837 with six deaths, one each reported by Chandigarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in a span of 24 hours, and two reconciled by Kerala. The total tally of Covid cases is 4.47 crore (4,47,05,952), the data stated. The active cases now comprise 0.02 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid recovery rate has been recorded at 98.79 per cent, according to the health ministry's website. Also Read: Coronavirus: Mumbai reports 123 new cases of Covid-19, active tally at 558 The number of people who have recuperated from the disease has increased to 4,41,64,815, the data stated. The case fatality rate has been recorded at 1.19 per cent. According to the ministry's website, 220.65 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been administered so far under the nationwide Covid vaccination drive. Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Sunday reported 397 new Covid-19 cases, registering a drop of 40 cases as compared to the previous day, taking the overall infection count to 81,41,854, according to state health department. The fatality count remained unchanged at 1,48,435 as nobody succumbed to the infection. As 236 patients recuperated on Sunday, the recovery figure increased to 79,91,302. The active case count now stands at 2,117. The recovery rate of the state is 98.15 per cent, while the case fatality rate is 1.82 per cent. Mumbai city alone reported 123 new cases, followed by Thane city that logged 47 cases. Mumbai circle, comprising the city and its satellite townships, reported 212 cases, followed by 99 in Pune circle, 32 in Kolhapur circle, 16 in Nashik circle, 11 in Aurangabad circle, 10 in Nagpur circle, nine in Latur circle and eight in Akola circle. As many as 5,216 tests were carried out in the past 24 hours, increasing the total to 8,65,83,011. (With inputs from PTI)

27 March,2023 10:13 AM IST | New Delhi | mid-day online correspondent
Women wearing masks walk past a society in Parel. Pic/Atul Kamble

Mid-Day Premium Maharashtra: 50 per cent of new Covid-19 cases are XBB.1.16

The latest genome sequencing result has revealed that 50 per cent of the Covid-19 patients across the state were infected with new Coronavirus sub-variant XBB.1.16, believed to be highly contagious. Health officials, however, said this was a small surge and that this strain would not wreak havoc, as only a handful of patients are in need of hospitalisation. Since mid-February, many states in the nation have been witnessing a gradual rise in Covid-19 cases, including Maharashtra. However, over the past few days, the numbers have shot up rapidly. On Sunday, the state health department recorded 397 new cases, including 123 from Mumbai. The number of active cases in the state rose to 2,117, with 558 in Mumbai. According to data from the BMC, only 43 out of the 558 patients are currently hospitalised. An elderly man buys fruits at a market in Goregaon West. Pic/Anurag Ahire While health experts believe XBB.1.16 is driving the surge, they have appealed to the public to take their booster shot, if they have not yet. There is no harm in adopting precautionary measures, like masking up and avoiding crowded places, they added. Also Read: Mumbai: Dadar-Mahim area sees rise in coronavirus cases in March; no new case in Dharavi Dominant variant Dr Nitin Ambadekar, director of state health services, told mid-day, “We have been sending all the positive RT-PCR samples for genome sequencing. For the past four-six week, we have observed that XBB.1.16 is the dominant sub-variant. The latest genome sequencing result showed that 50 percent of cases were of XBB.1.16.” Dr Rahul Pandit, a member of the Covid Task Force and Chair Critical Care Reliance Foundation Hospital, said, “XBB.1.16 seems to be similar to other Omicron sub-variants. It will be too early to say that XBB.1.16 is behind the surge.” Speaking about the current trend of numbers, he added, “It seems to be a small surge due to weather change. However, people have to be vigilant, especially senior citizens and those with comorbidities. They should follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, like wearing masks and following hand hygiene, and complete their vaccination against the Coronavirus.” Status of vaccines Although the central government asked to ramp up vaccination, the state only has Covaxin vaccine. Out of the approximately 1 lakh doses, Mumbai only has 500. Dr Ambadekar said, “Currently, around 700 to 800 people are getting vaccinated daily across the state. We have around 1 lakh doses of Covaxin, so there is no scarcity as of now. The number of admissions in the hospitals is low, but we have ample beds to deal with any situation and if needed, we can ramp up strength at any moment. We are vigilant and screening all patients with Influenza-like illnesses and acute respiratory infections for Covid-19. We appeal to the people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and avoid crowded places. Also, people should complete their vaccination dosages.” 43No of patients currently hospitalised in Mumbai

27 March,2023 05:29 AM IST | Mumbai | Suraj Pandey
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Maharashtra reports 427 H1N1 and 309 H3N2 and cases between Jan and March 25

Maharashtra reported 3,31,084 suspected influenza cases in 2023, between January 1 to March 25. Among them, 1816 suspected flu patients were given oseltamivir, an antiviral medication used to treat and prevent influenza A and influenza B, viruses that cause the flu, a health bulletin by the state department said on Sunday. It further shows that the number of infected patients of H1N1 are 427 and and H3N2 patients during the said period are 309. While three suspected deaths are reported due to H1N1 infection, whereas one H3N2 suspected death is also reported. The health bulletin said, "The 3 suspicious deaths have been reported from Washim, 1 death is from Khadki Cantonment Board and 1 death from Pune Municipal Corporation." Also Read: Mumbai: Fire breaks at residential building in Kanjurmarg, five people injured Meanwhile, as a part of preventive and remedial measures, routine patient surveys for Covid-19/influenza resident survey instructions have been issued. All District Health Officers, District Surgeons and Medical Health Officers of the state have been instructed by the VC, the health bulletin said. It  also mentioned that "flu-like patients are treated without delay according to classification and Isolation rooms have been set up in government hospitals as well as medical college hospitals in the state.

26 March,2023 07:54 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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