Maldivians traveling to India warned of the spread of influenza

Health Protection Agency (HPA) has warned Maldivians traveling to India about the spread of influenza in northern India.

HPA’s Epidemiologist Dr Aishath Aruna said that some local media have referred to the influenza H1N1 spreading in India as swine flu. She said that influenza H1N1 is not swine flu and that it is less dangerous.

The influenza spreading in Rajasthan in northern India has affected about 450 people and claimed the lives of 94 people, most of whom were pregnant women. The chances of the virus spreading to other parts of India are high.

Dr Aruna said that influenza H1N1 virus has been observed in the Maldives on a few occasions since 2010. She said that the virus is usually found in people who visit the doctor for having a cold.

She said that influenza prolongs and intensifies the symptoms of common colds, and that pregnant women, the elderly, asthma patients and infants have higher chances of catching the virus.

Dr Aruna advised Maldivians visiting India to avoid crowds, wash hands with soap frequently especially after coughing or sneezing, and become vaccinated as per your doctor’s advice if you are in the high risk category.