The Delhi government ruled out a repeat of the scare triggered two years ago by the H1N1 virus even as a report by a Pune institute laid to rest speculation that the microorganism had mutated into a more virulent form.
The report prepared by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) also showed that this year’s infection is milder.
Only six cases have been reported in Delhi so far. The last case was reported on March 9. None of the cases needed hospitalisation.
“There is no fear of spread of the H1N1 infection like in 2010. One-off cases may continue to be reported but most probably they will have come from other states,” said Dr Charan Singh, surveillance officer for H1N1 virus for the Delhi government.
The NIV report added that there no fear of any endemic-like situation. It said the current circulating strain of H1N1 pandemic virus belonged to clade 6 and 7. Clade is used to describe related organisms descended from a common ancestor.
“These clades are circulating in many countries. All are treatable with Oseltamivir — an antiviral drug, which slows the spread of influenza virus,” said an NIV spokesperson, unwilling to divulge his name.
The available vaccine can also be used as a guard against toxins, bacteria, foreign blood cells and the cells of transplanted organs.
India has witnessed major outbreaks between August and October 2010 and again between May and July 2011. This year, cases of pandemic Influenza A H1N1 were reported from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Small pockets of the population who remained unexposed to the pandemic and susceptible would be affected. In first week of March, almost 30% of referred samples were positive for H1N1 in Pune which has come down to approximately 10% now.
The Union health ministry also allayed all fears, insisting that the H1N1 situation in India was completely under control. They also removed all travel restrictions or screening, at inter-state points of entry and railway stations, saying that the virus was circulating in the air but the strain was mild.