Nine fresh cases of A(H1N1) were recorded in the State on Wednesday, according to Public Health officials. All the nine cases were from Chennai and included two children. All patients were started on Tamiflu and the children were given special care by paediatricians.

This takes the total number of positive cases to 129.

The highlight on Wednesday was that two private hospitals in the city- Vijaya Hospital and Apollo Hospital - began to admit and treat patients. The drugs were dispatched from the Communicable Diseases Hospital by Corporation Health Authorities.

"It is very good that the private sector is pitching in with the treatment efforts. Everyone should contribute, especially in a situation like this," said V.K.Subburaj, principal secretary, Health. He says though the number of cases in Tamil Nadu is still low, a new problem has cropped up - a number of patients seem to run away from the hospitals. This has occurred in Coimbatore, Madurai and Chennai already and public health officials have had to nearly hunt down these patients. "People should realise that running away untreated is neither good for them nor the community. They take the virus into the community and spread it there. That is the situation we are trying to avoid," he added.

Meanwhile, a high-level meeting of all health department staff convened by the Health Minister will, on Thursday, review the prevention and treatment efforts in the instance of the influenza A(H1N1) virus, Mr. Subburaj said. This will be a preliminary meeting in the state, before the Minister, Secretary and Public Health Director represent Tamil Nadu's position at the National level meeting of Health Ministers of the states convened by the Union Ministry for Health in New Delhi on Friday.