Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Novel human influenza virus will continue to thrive as a seasonal virus for a few more years

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 12: The novel human influenza virus will continue to thrive as a seasonal virus for a few more years before it either dies down or mutates into a new strain.

According to city doctors, though the World Health Organisation has withdrawn its pandemic warning for swine flu, the novel human influenza virus 2009 will continue to emerge every year as a seasonal influenza virus for a few more years. There are chances of the virus losing its power gradually or emerging even more stronger in the days to come in case a mutation takes place in its genes.

"The pandemic threat has been withdrawn. But the novel influenza virus will continue to pose as a threat in thickly populated countries like India. Already the virus is claiming more lives this year as compared to that of last year. The infection rate is also higher this time. There are chances of young people falling victim to swine flu," said senior geneticist Dr MN Khaja.

Doctors also warn of the virus leading to viral pneumonia in some of the patients. If this happens, the virus will pose a major challenge to medical and health authorities. A majority of the victims of swine flu in Hyderabad and other parts of the State so far this season have been pregnant women.

"There are also chances of one of the non-human influenza viruses entering human beings," he cautioned.

According to Hyderabad District Medical and Health Officer Dr Ch Jayakumari, health authorities have been keeping a constant watch on cases of severe respiratory illness to identify whether the virus has turned relatively virulent this season.

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