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Health authorities suspect mutation in swine flu virus

PTI | Hyderabad |

The health authorities in Telangana suspect that the H1N1 virus, that causes swine flu, may have mutated.

The state is witnessing swine flu cases even in the summer season though it is not unusual, an official said.

“Most probably yes, due to the high replication rate there could be an antigenic drift which could have milder mutations,” state-run Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) Director K Manohar told PTI on April 15, when asked if they suspect that the virus has mutated.

The authorities are awaiting a confirmation on whether the virus has mutated.

“After confirmation of the probable mutation we have to study the disease profile and observe,” he said.

Manohar said, “It is not unusual to see swine flu cases in summer. There is a difference of occurrence in the northern hemisphere and in the southern hemisphere. But cases can occur in summer as well as in winter.”

He also said that it cannot be predicted if a virulent form of H1N1 would be seen when the high temperatures subside and the monsoon sets in.

According to a swine flu bulletin issued by Telangana government on April 12, as many as 9,382 samples were tested for swine flu from August 1, 2015 to April 11 this year in the state and out of them 1,343 were found to be positive.

There were 22 deaths because of swine flu and other complications during the period.

As per the figures, 11 of 77 samples tested on April 11 were found positive for the virus.

Sufficient stock of medicines and testing kits were available in the state at all levels, the bulletin said.