Report from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says 38 cases of swine flu have been reported in Gauteng.
The NICD has been tracking influenza viruses since the flu season began in May this year, but the institute’s recent report shows that 38 cases reported at the Gauteng surveillance center, with Pretoria having the most affected followed by Eastern Cape with 12 and Mpumalanga with five.
Speaking on the spread of the disease, Dr. Cheryl Cohen, center head for respiratory disease and meningitis said: “We only manage to monitor the spread of this virus at our surveillance centres because it would be difficult to follow each and every case.”
“I am sure there are even more people who contracted the virus where you live and data wasn’t captured.”
Swine influenza, also called pig influenza is a respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract of pigs and result in a barking cough, decreased appetite, nasal secretions, and listless behavior; the virus can be transmitted to humans.
The main route of transmission of this flu is through direct contact between infected and uninfected animals but when people who have it cough or sneeze, they spray tiny drops of the virus into the air and If you come in contact with these drops by touching a surface where the drops landed, or touching something an infected person has recently touched, you can catch flu.
Pretoria North resident Nadia Rynner, who recently contracted the virus, said she started with normal flu symptoms that got more extreme.
The 33-year-old said after the doctor confirmed she had swine flu, she was given Tamiflu tablets which started to relieve the symptoms.
“I felt like I was dying. I had extreme fever, body aches and had trouble breathing,” she said.
Meanwhile, NICD said the 2016 influenza season started mid-May, and was originally predominated by influenza B virus. However, it noted that since the beginning of July, cases of influenza A (H1N1) pdm09, known as swine flu and influenza A (H3N2), have increased.
“Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 previously known as “swine flu” has been circulating as one of the seasonal influenza strains since 2010,” Institute spokesperson Sinenhlanhla Jimoh said
The influenza season normally runs for 17 weeks. As it started on 15 May, it is expected to come to an end in the second week of October.
Institute deputy director Lucille Blumberg however, said there was no cause for concern as the 2016 swine flu season has in fact been quieter than last year’s. “This is nothing unusual and we are nearing the end of the season,” he said