The Public Health authorities in the State are concerned at the upsurge in the number of A(H1N1) cases after a clear downswing in the initial months of 2010.

Twenty-one fresh cases of A(H1N1) infections were recorded in the last couple of months alone, Health Minister MRK Panneerselvam said.

In May and June, 21 cases of A(H1N1) were confirmed, 2 in the first month and 19 in the next, according to health officials. This was after the lull of the first four months from January this year. Of these, 14 cases are in Kanyakumari, three are from Chennai, two from Tiruvallur, and one from Nagapattinam, Director of Public Health R.T. Porkaipandian informed.

Mr. Panneerselvam refuted allegations that a death had been recorded in the State, saying that all those who were detected with A(H1N1) were given doses of Tamiflu and were said to be stable.

“The main reason for the spurt in infections is the high incidence in the neighbouring districts of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala,” Dr. Pandian said. With a significant amount of inter-State travel, especially with porous borders in the north and south, the case load in Tamil Nadu had risen. This was the reason why the maximum number of cases was in Kanyakumari district, east of Kerala, he added.

At a meeting of all health officials in the State on Tuesday, it was resolved to intensify surveillance and subject all suspect cases to throat and nose swab testing for A(H1N1). The loophole in the system was identified as the private medical practitioner, as suspicion of A(H1N1) must begin even when the first symptoms are manifest. Awareness would be created among them to raise their level of suspicion and send referrals for testing and treatment to government hospitals.

A special team has been sent to Kanyakumari district to stop further spread of the virus. Inter-State screening had also been taken up, Dr. Pandian said.

Special Correspondent from Thanjavur reports:

The test results of Samsun Hudha (60) from Nagapattinam who was admitted to a private hospital here on June 22 and who died on June 26 due to a heart attack, turned out positive for A(H1N1).

According to Dr. Mathivanan, Deputy Director of Health, Thanjavur, he was admitted for treatment for heart failure. The doctor treating him had sent nasal swabs to the lab as a matter of routine, since all tests were performed on him.

Dr. Mathivanan said the patient had no symptoms of A(H1N1) other than respiratory distress which was actually caused by his heart condition. As a precautionary measure, those who came in contact with him, his relatives and paramedical staff who treated him are kept under observation as swine flu infection will be known in a week's time.

Keywords: A(H1N1)