The H1N1 virus seems to be a regional threat, as it has been detected both in Armenia and in Georgia. The situation in these countries peaked in January 2016. Up to this day 17 people died and 358 have officially been diagnosed with the flu. In Armenia the image is slightly different; 19 dead and more over a 1000 infected.
When Vardan Harutyunyan, a 26-year-old, went to see a doctor at the Vanadzor city clinic on January 9, he had temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. His diagnosis was H1N1. Vardan was one of the hundreds of Armenians who had swine flu (H1N1 virus) in the beginning of the year. This was the peak of the spread of infection which took 19 lives.
Vardan Harutyunyan after the recovery.
Vardan preferred buying medication and getting treatment at home.
The main risk group of the virus were the pregnant, the elderly and schoolchildren. This is why the winter school holidays were extended by 3 more weeks. Swine flu, compared to other types of flu, spreads quicker, has more complications during the illness process and results in higher numbers of death. The symptoms, however, are similar to other types of flu:
· high temperature
· pain in the chest
· heavy or frequent breathing
· change in psychological state
· blue hue to skin
· low blood pressure
The number of people visiting hospitals increased especially in the beginning of December 2015. According to the information of the Ministry of Health of RA, at the peak, there were 1100-1200 people receiving stationary treatment. The majority of them were underage. Meanwhile, in clinics the number of visitors reached 3116. Despite this, no state of ‘epidemic’ was declared in Armenia. According to the head of the Department of Medical Service Policy, Tsaghik Vardanyan, an epidemic is declared, if the number of the patients exceeds the total of the last 5 years of acute respiratory disease cases while this time the numbers didn’t go that high.
Liana Torosyan, the chief of the Epidemiology Division of the department of "National Center for Disease Control and Prevention" says, that after January 25 the virus retreated, but didn't disappear completely.
"The country will be in the "virus season" until April. There are still hospitalized patients with acute respiratory diseases, but their number is significantly lower. If from the 17th to the 18th of January there were 114 pregnant women visiting clinics, now it is 13-14. The decrease is 70-80%. The number of underage visitors also declined due to the extension of school holidays".
According to the director of the Yerevan ambulance service, Taguhi Stepanyan, within the first 10 days of 2016 9,611 calls for ambulances were recorded. Each day more than 120 calls were by patients with acute respiratory infections. Today their number has decreased to 40-50 per day.
"Before the 21st of January 52% of cases of infections were H1N1, now only 30% of cases are swine flu. And the condition of patients with H1N1 now is described as mild or medium”, says Liana Torosyan, chief of Epidemiology Division, however, adding that this does not mean people should relax. She advises to see a doctor as the first signs of the virus are noticed.
Though there are people who still need treatment, The Ministry of Health of RA made stationary treatment not free of charge since the 20th of January. Until that point, the medication for H1N1 and treatment was free.
The H1N1 virus seems to be a regional threat, as it has been detected also in Georgia. The situation here peaked at the end of January of 2016. Up to this day (23-rd of February, 2016), according to the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia, the number of H1N1-related deaths reached 17, and 358 people have officially diagnosed with the flu. No cases were detected in Azerbaijan.