GIST

Newspaper GIST

Summary

Editorial

The cold facts

India needs to strengthen its incfluenza surveillance systems to tackle the virus and its pandemic effectively. From the time the influenza virus H1N1 landed in India in the year 2009, there have been several outbreaks across the country. Of them, the worst was in the year 2015 when 2,990 deaths were reported. The present year 2017 so far witnessed 1,873 by September end- this figure only counts the deaths by the H1N1 virus and discards the fact that deaths can also occur by the H3N2 and influenza B virus. All this indicates that the surveillance systems of India are much poor and underestimate the influenza burden. As per a commentary by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2015, India depicts a relatively smaller number of H1N1 genetic sequences in comparison to the global open-access databases. Due to this, India misses out the sequencing of a relatively large sample of the viral genomes and mutations which could well explain the changes in the lethality quotient of the virus. India on its part has also stayed away from the vaccination process, which is the best weapon the country can use against it. If India takes up proper surveillance of influenza, it would sure be capable of tackling the public health issue and may curb it as well.

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