H1N1 continues to pose a threat: Scientists

Pune: The H1NI outbreak may have subsided
but scientists at the premier National Institute of Virology
have warned that the virus continues to pose a serious threat.

The scientists at the virology laboratory, who
conducted detailed tests and studies, concluded that the
severity of H1N1 is less than that reported for Spanish Flu in
1918 but higher than other pandemics of the 20th century.

"Deaths are being reported from Maharashtra till now.
Five deaths due to the virus have been reported this month
alone from Pune," Indian Council of Medical Research Director
General M V Katoch said while commenting on the study.

He said that the pandemic influenza "should be
considered as serious health threat and the unprecedented
global response seems justified."

Already 1,509 deaths and 31,826 positive cases due to
H1N1 flu have been reported since May 2009.

With 454 deaths, Maharashtra is the worst hit in the

The study, conducted by a team of doctors including
Akhilesh Mishra, Director, National Institute of Virology
Pune, disclosed that the cases positive for pandemic H1N1
virus had significantly higher risk of hospitalisation than
those positive for seasonal influenza A viruses.

According to the findings, out of the 93 influenza
related deaths that were reported between August one to
October 31, last year in urban Pune, 57 patients had tested
positive for H1N1 virus while only eight deaths were reported
in seasonal flu cases.

In rural Pune, 27 deaths were reported due to H1N1
virus and one death was due to seasonal flu, the study showed.

Referring to the data, Katoch said, "The data also
on the cumulative fatality of rural and urban Pune suggests
that with time the epidemic is spreading to rural areas."


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