Swine flu or H1N1 is a type of Influenza A virus.
Actually, swine flu is a misnomer as the transmission of the disease is airborne droplets-from human to human.
TRANSMISSION OF INFECTION
When an infected person is speaking, coughing or talking, he or she spreads the droplets in the air.
It also gets transmitted by contaminated hands and surfaces.
Once the person gets infection, the symptoms start to show within 1 to 4 days.
The person who is now infected will continue to spread infection for the next one week.
WHY ARE PREGNANT WOMEN MORE SUSCEPTIBLE FR INFECTION…?
Pregnant women as compared to general population are 4-5 times more likely to get complications and increased complications of disease.
Why is it so, because, the pregnant women have altered heart rate, lung function and immunological functions.
COMPLICATIONS HAPPENING TO FETUS…
-Complications arising out of fever depends on the stage of pregnancy.
-If fever comes during early pregnancy, then it is found to be associated with congenital defects like neural tube defect of the foetus.
-If fever develops during labour, then the Infant may have neonatal seizures, cerebral palsy and newborn encephalopathy.
-Other complications are preterm delivery, fetal distress showing as non-reassuring heart rate like tachycardia.
-Sudden unexplained intra uterine fetal demise also known as stillbirth is also reported.
-The neonate will have complications like prolonged vomiting and diarrhoea & inability to feed.
This baby will require care in NICU-Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, putting a lot of financial and emotional burden on parents.
SYMTOMS OF SWINE FLU INFECTION IN MOTHER
Symptoms of swine flu are divided into two categories
-Mild variety consists of general flu like symptoms like fever, running nose, sore throat, cough, increased respiratory rate, headache, fatigue.
-In severe or dangerous category, patient will complain of breathlessness, chest pain, altered mental status and hypotension.
-Extreme cases result into mortality and the responsible factors are pneumonia, respiratory failure and multi organ failure.
DIAGNOSIS, INVESTIGATIONS AND TREATMENT OF SWINE FLU INFECTION
-For diagnosis of swine flu, swab samples are obtained from nose, pharynx, throat and trachea for intubated patients.
-RTPCR test is then carried out to arrive at a confirmative diagnosis.
-Routine investigations like CBC, liver function test-LFT, kidney function test-RFT, coagulation profile and chest X-ray should also be done.
-For treatment general measures like maintaining hydration, nutrition and oxygen levels are of paramount importance.
-Antivirus therapy with oral drug Oseltamivir proves helpful in treatment as well as prophylaxis.
PREVENTION OF SWINE FLU INFECTION BY VACCINE
Prevention is always better than cure.
WHO & ICMR recommend yearly vaccination for all.
Inactivated vaccine can be given safely to pregnant women as intramuscular injection.
The newest vaccine is of quadrivalent variety with efficacy of 70-80% and it helps in prevention of severe complications of Influenza.