CHENNAI: On what could be seen as a minor flu outbreak, hospitals across the city had observed a sharp increase in the number of influenza cases, especially in the last two months.
General physicians say that at least 80 per cent of their patients had complaints of viral fever. However, what’s actually alarming is that unlike usual cases of viral fever, wherein patients have a temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit, this time it was as high as 104 degrees.
Explaining the scenario, Dr Vinod Prem Anand, consultant general physician, Fortis Malar Hospital says, “The mutation of the virus has made it more virulent now. Earlier, people had 99 degree Fahrenheit and the temperature shot up the following day. Previously, after taking prescribed drugs, the temperature settled down. Now, it’s no more the case.”
Further, medical investigations reveal that high fever (above 102 degree Fahrenheit) can no longer be treated with oral drugs alone. Consequently, many patients with high fever are admitted to hospital and treated with intravenous (IV) antibiotics. “Even after treatment with IV antibiotics, the fever takes three to four days to settle. At least 70 per cent of patients with viral fever are advised to get admitted because the fever does not settle with oral drugs and the patient gets back to us after two or three days,” Dr Prem Anand conveys.
Doctors in the city observe that there are more cases of viral fever among adults than children. “These days we are seeing more adults getting infected. Although, age has nothing to do with viral fever, when left untreated, it can lead to secondary infection,” says Dr Baraneetharan, senior consultant, Global Health City, who has been witnessing at least two cases of viral fever every day.
The disease is contagious enough to quickly affect those with a poor immune system. Doctors are of the view that consuming healthy food, especially ones rich on Vitamin C, may provide enough immunity to fight the infection.