The influenza A (H1N1) virus, commonly known as swine flu, seems to have made an appearance in the city once again.

Last week, one death was reported in Tiruvottiyur due to the virus and over 10 cases have been confirmed by laboratories in various localities since then.

K. Kathirvel (58) a resident of Tiruvottiyur High Road, died on October 12 at 11.50 p.m. at a private hospital. Doctors confirmed his death was due to A (H1N1). Many residents in areas such as Kilpauk, Mylapore, Velachery and Taramani have been admitted to private hospitals with symptoms of the flu over the past two weeks.

A senior Chennai Corporation official however, said hospitals have reported only one case to the civic body and that there was no outbreak of the disease.

Apollo Hospital authorities said they had been receiving patients with symptoms of swine flu and recently, one of their patients, a 64-year-old man, died due to the flu.

Patients have come in with a variety of symptoms – severe body ache and joint pain in addition to fever, doctors said.

Some patients have also had symptoms of dengue and chikungunya and low platelet counts but have tested negative for A (H1N1), said V. Ramasubramanian, consultant, infectious diseases at Apollo. 

Public health officials however, said A (H1N1) influenza had changed from being a pandemic influenza into a seasonal influenza.

“If we test a set of given samples, there will be several cases of H1N1 as it is now a seasonal disease. There is no need for residents to panic. We constantly monitor cities such as Chennai, Coimbatore and Vellore, where there are a large number of hospitals. We are also maintaining daily reports on the number of cases reported and are alert to the threat of an outbreak,” said an official.

From January 1 up until September 15 this year, there have been 26 laboratory-confirmed cases of pandemic A (H1N1) influenza and three deaths in Tamil Nadu, according to the website of the Union health ministry.

(With inputs from R. Sujatha and Serena Josephine M.)

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