After being in the news for importing a virus to the West, it is now India’s turn to claim that a virus from down under is the cause of the flu epidemic sweeping across Maharashtra specially Pune.
While India was a victim to the H1N1 virus, more commonly known as swine flu which was imported from Mexico, the recent one called the Australian Ross River virus is similar to the virus causing dengue and chikungunya and arthritis like pain in the joints is the common symptom to them.
However, some health officials are still cautious and warn that the new virus may just be a mutant of the CHIK-V that causes chikungunya. They also opined that the talk of a new virus may be a clandestine move to sell expensive diagnostic kits to the health authorities.
Maharashtra Health Minister Suresh Shetty on Saturday had admitted that four samples from patients admitted to the Sassoon Hospital in Pune were sent to the National Institute of Virology to test for Australian Ross River virus. While admitting that one sample had tested positive for chikungunya the results of the other three were awaited.
However, sources in the Health Department revealed that NIV had already found the Australian Ross River virus in eight samples so far.