The Swine Flu or the H1N1 influenza seems to have become a major epidemic in India now.
At last count the no. of deaths has been 10 with the most no. of people being of the age below 14 or above 50.
There are various sites which talk about the do's and dont's for it. One parent site is www.swinefluindia.com This is supposed to have the latest information.
I just dread of the time when the virus enters the public domain. I fear for the people traveling in our over-crowded buses, trains and other public transports. For the people living in the slums and off the roads; the poor labourers in cities and the already impoverished farmers in rural Bharat, people already distraught due to the drought; people who already dont have minimal requirements of life having been fulfilled. Once the pandemic starts to have its victims, the number will only grow exponentially. The WHO seems to be of the view that about 33% of Indians will be affected by the flu. That makes a very bad 30 crore people. Even if 0.1% of that amount is fatally affected, then the toll would be about 3 lakh lives. Not to consider the other 50 lakh that would be psychologically affected.
The flu had not come out as a full blown up epidemic in India until now, which can be attributed to the warm summer season that just passed off. The northern plains have not reported much of the flu cases, again due to the delayed or mostly absent monsoon. Western countries reported the flu just before the start of summer for them, then the numbers has not risen dramatically. When the winter season slowly takes over the second wave of the flu attack will be felt. Pray to God that it doesn't cause much damage. The only way to beat this menace would be to observe better hygiene. WASH YOUR HANDS, REGULARLY. That is if there is enough water after the bad-monsoons.
But before panicking just consider this information. More people die in India due to tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, leptospirosis than the more hyped diseases like AIDS, H1N1. In fact more people die due to accidents than the total toll of swine flu globally.
Observe Caution YES! Panic NO!
There are reports that a few people are selling off masks procured for free from the Govt. hospitals to slum-dwellers for a handsome charge of anywhere between Rs. 50/- to Rs. 200/-
Now, isn't there a thing known as conscience for these people?