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'2009 swine flu pandemic won't return to Maharashtra'

Maharashtra,Health/Medicine, Wed, 04 Apr 2012 IANS

Pune, April 4 (IANS) Health officials in Maharashtra Wednesday ruled out a resurgence of the 2009 swine flu pandemic in the state.


'This is just a shift in virus, not a drift in virus form. The pandemic situation arises during the latter and hence we are not worried of resurgence,' said Pradeep Awate, Head of Integrated Disease Surveillance in the State Surveillance Office, which monitors swine flu in Maharashtra.



Awate made the statement to dispel fears of a resurgence in swine flu after 281 people tested positive for swine flu in Maharashtra in the last one month.



Awate also said that there sure is a localised outbreak of swine flu in Pune and its vicinity, but it is definitely not a pandemic situation.



According to health officials, in the years 2009-10 and 2010-11, there were over 10,000 positive cases of H1N1 (the virus that causes swine flu) registered only in India.



'However, only 33 people tested positive for the influenza from April 2011 to March 2012. I do agree that 281 cases in one month is worth a concern, but we believe this is owing to a shift in the virus,' said Awate.



'There is just a point mutation in the virus which runs in its normal course. It is likely to make a shift in an 11 month cycle. This might be one of the reasons of the sudden increase in positive cases of H1N1,' he added.



Awate said that all this is expected of the influenza virus and hence, in most developed countries, the influenza vaccine is updated every year.



So far, 11 people have died in Maharashtra due to swine flu in the last one month. A 34-year-old man, Nandu Dattu Chavan in Nashik district is the last victim, who died Sunday.


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