Delhi has reported six swine flu (H1N1) cases so far this year, the last one confirmed on March 9. But there have been no swine flu related hospitalisation or deaths.
"Since the last case was reported in Delhi and the NCR a month ago and there have been no hospitalisations, the strain appears to be much milder than the previous years. Even last year, Delhi reported only 26 cases, which clearly indicates that the epicentre of the outbreak has shifted from here," said Dr Charan Singh, surveillance officer for swine flu, Delhi government. But the Union health ministry has not updated its website on the disease since December 2010.
Swine flu, also known as influenza-A, is an infectious respiratory disease that jumped from infecting pigs to infecting humans in April 2009. Within six months, it had infected several thousands in 171 countries across six continents, triggering a race to develop a vaccine against it.
Like seasonal flu, swine flu is marked by symptoms of high fever, cough, aches and chills. Experts say symptoms of high fever alone should not make you rush off to get tested for H1N1.
"Since there's a seasonal viral outbreak also, people with a history of travel to infected areas, fever and breathing difficulty should get tested," said Dr Richa Diwan, medical superintendent at Lok Nayak Hospital. The hospital has received no swine flu cases this year.
"Large hospitals are usually a good indication of the severity as people from neighbouring states also come here for testing and treatment," said Diwan.
"Though the strain is not as deadly as in 2009-2010, we are not taking any chances, especially with the cases in neighbouring Rajasthan and Gujarat increasing daily," said Dr AK Walia, Delhi Health minister.
"The large hospitals have stocks of Tamiflu and H1N1 testing kits and we have also asked 17 Delhi government hospitals and five private hospitals to be prepared for a sudden spurt not just from Delhi but also from neighbouring states," he said.