‘Mystery disease’ that killed 3 in Mugu may be flu-Covid comboFollowing confirmation of multiple viruses responsible for the outbreak, health ministry deploys an expert team.
Influenza A(H1N1), also known as swine flu, influenza B, and Covid have been found responsible for the viral fever outbreak in several villages of Soru Rural Municipality in Mugu district.
According to Charitra Dhami, health coordinator of the rural municipality, the National Public Health Laboratory, which had carried out tests on swab samples collected from the affected villages, confirmed the infection of A(H1N1), influenza B and Covid in the infected people.
“Laboratory tests show spread of multiple viruses—A(H1N1), influenza B and Covid-19—in the disease-hit areas,” Dhami told the Post over the phone from Mugu. “The Ministry of Health and Population has deployed an expert team following the confirmation of multiple potentially deadly viruses in our area.”
At least three people have died and over 200 have been infected by what was being called a ‘mystery disease’ that broke out last week in Jima, Bhiee, Natharpu Sipa, Khyalcha, Bumcha, Purumuru, Mera, and Kalai villages of the rural municipality. The deceased include a 75-year-old male and 72- and 24-year-old females.
Health workers deployed in the affected villages said infected persons complained of headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, fatigue and sweating.
The Health Office, Mugu deployed a team of health workers and doctors to the affected rural municipalities. They collected swab samples of infected persons and sent them to the National Public Health Laboratory.
“We deployed another team to the disease-hit areas of Mugu today,” said Dr Prakash Budhathoki, spokesman for the health ministry. ‘The team will reach the affected villages on Wednesday and start its work.”
Research suggests the spread of multiple viruses in the same place at the same time is a serious thing, as you could get infected by more than one virus, which increases the chances of the patients’ mortality.
According to the World Health Organisation’s Global Influenza Surveillance, 17 cases of H1N1 infection have been reported in Nepal since January this year. Similarly, four cases of influenza B have been confirmed in the same period.
Both H1N1 and influenza B and Covid viruses are highly contagious and spread from person to person through airborne droplets of infected persons.
Doctors advise one and all to avoid crowds, wear face masks that protect not only from infection from various viruses but also polluted air, to wash hands frequently and maintain social distance.
Of late, major hospitals in the country have reported a surge in new cases of respiratory illnesses. Doctors say most of the viruses—adenovirus, rhinovirus, and seasonal influenza—become active in the winter season.
They say that most symptoms of the H1N1, influenza B coronavirus overlap, which can cause confusion and lead to misdiagnosis. In both infections (coronavirus and influenza), patients suffer from fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea, among other symptoms.