Hyderabad: The strain of Swine Flu being witnessed currently is not as virulent as it was in 2009 but high risk groups need to be alert, a health official said here on Thursday.
"In 2009, it was a pandemic virus. It was a new virus (then). We were not exposed to the virus. So, the spread of the virus was very virulent. More number of cases got affected and more deaths happened. But over a period of time, the virus became indigenous and now it is just like a normal seasonal flu. We already have immunity, what is called herd immunity?
"People need not panic. But, at the same time they should be alert because even normal flu, if neglected, can lead to pneumonia and mortality. Particularly, high risk groups should take precautions. They should be alert. But, they should not be apprehensive," Dr K Subhakar, Nodal Officer for Swine Flu, told PTI here.
He said more number of cases being reported in Hyderabad and Delhi in recent months does not mean that Flu is not there elsewhere.
"There may be Flu cases in other parts of the country also. But they are not testing. Unless you test, you will not know the exact problem. Before 2009, we did not have a testing facility also. After 2009, every state has a laboratory for testing. Now, people are testing. People are more aware.
"Because, we have more number of corporate hospitals in Hyderabad and we are testing people with pneumonia. So, we are detecting the cases. It does not mean it is not there in other parts of the country. Similarly, if you see in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh cases are less. It does not mean there is no Flu in AP. Flu cases are not detected. Flu is there everywhere and it is going to be there everywhere in future also," he said.
Subhakar said personal hygiene, self-discipline of not venturing into public places by those with symptoms, frequent hand-wash, desisting from hand-shake and early diagnosis, a healthy lifestyle and vaccination would help check and prevent the spread of the disease.