BENGALURU: With H1N1 now being noticed with atypical symptoms across the country, doctors in Bengaluru give a word of caution to get tested for the flu if fever lasts long. Even if it is mild fever.
Cases are now being reported where patients have mild fever and diarrhoea, which were not seen as symptoms in the past. Though this might not be a cause for concern, doctors say having a differential diagnosis is important.
Dr Shashidhar Buggi, director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, said that in one of the cases, a child came to the hospital with very mild fever. However, even after three days of medication the fever did not subside. Then a swab was taken and sent for examination. “To our surprise, she tested positive for H1N1,” Dr Buggi said.
Dr Buggi said that there could be cases where the flu would have come and subsided as well. In other cases, patients have diarrhoea. “It is an atypical symptom. This could be possible due to mutation of the virus. Though we have not seen many cases of this sort, doctors need to consider it as a differential diagnosis when one has fever,” he added.
Dr H Sudarshan Ballal, medical director, Manipal Hospital, attributed this to a possible change in the pattern of the flu. “It is predominantly a respiratory problem. Diarrhoea could dehydrate the patients with this flu,” Dr Ballal said.
Dr George D Souza, head, pulmonology, St John’s Hospital, said that on interacting with doctors in Kerala, he was informed that there are certain changes in the flu affecting pregnant women. “They say that it is severe in pregnant women,” he said.
He added that this could also be a reaction by the population that has developed immunity to H1N1. “Even as the numbers are too few to come to conclusions, it is true that individual cases have shown unusual symptoms to the flu. This could be attributed to immunity against the flu,” he said.
A certain group of patients who have been affected by the flu for the first time show a typical set of symptoms, others show variations. Dr D Souza added that with a spurt in the number of such cases in the past few months, one ought to maintain hand hygiene. “Vaccines are an option that we have,” he said.