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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 135  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 529-533

An outbreak of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, 2010

1 Directorate of Health Services, Government of West Bengal; Field Epidemiology Training Programme, National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR), Chennai, India
2 Field Epidemiology Training Programme, National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR), Chennai, India

Correspondence Address:
Dilip K Biswas
Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health-II, Purba Medinipur 721 636, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background & objectives: An increased number of cases with influenza like illness (ILI) were reported in Greater Kolkata Metropolitan Area (GKMA) during July and August 2010. We investigated these cases to confirm the outbreak, describe the distribution of patients and propose control measures. Methods: A suspected case of influenza like illness (ILI) was defined as acute onset of fever (>38°C) with cough or sore throat and a confirmed case as ILI case with throat swab positive for influenza A (H1N1) on RT-PCR. The demographic and clinical details were collected from patients attending the swine flu OPD of Infectious Disease Hospital, Kolkata, during July 5 to August 16, 2010. Results: Overall 440 patients with ILI attended the swine flu OPD of Infectious Disease and Bengal General hospital during the study period, of which 129 were positive for influenza A (H1N1). Four patients died (case fatality ratio: 0.90%). Besides fever, common symptoms included cough (73%), running nose (54%), sore throat (43%), respiratory distress (25%) and diarrhoea (4%). Forty seven (11%) patients (including the four who died) had co-morbidities. The outbreak started on July 10, peaked on July 24 and subsided by August 14, 2010. A total of 372 (85%) patients were from GKMA. Majority (n=168, 45%) of the cases from GKMA were from 6 boroughs of Kolkata Municipal Areas. Interpretation & conclusions: An outbreak of influenza A (H1N1) occurred in Kolkata predominantly affecting young and middle aged population. State health authorities implemented several interventions to limit the outbreak including training of health care providers in case management and infection control, vaccination of health care workers, creation of isolation wards and administration of oseltamivir to ILI patients, and community health education about social distance and personal hygiene measures.

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