, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 301-307

Diagnosis of influenza viruses with special reference to novel H1N1 2009 influenza virus

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Abstract

On 15 April and 17 April 2009, novel swineorigin influenza A (H1N1) virus was identifi ed in specimens obtained from two epidemiologically unlinked patients in the United States. The ongoing outbreak of novel H1N1 2009 influenza (swine influenza) has caused more than 3,99,232 laboratory confi rmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 and over 4735 deaths globally. This novel 2009 influenza virus designated as H1N1 A/swine/California/04/2009 virus is not zoonotic swine flu and is transmitted from person to person and has higher transmissibility then that of seasonal influenza viruses. In India the novel H1N1 virus infection has been reported from all over the country. A total of 68,919 samples from clinically suspected persons have been tested for influenza A H1N1 across the country and 13,330 (18.9%) of them have been found positive with 427 deaths. At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi India, we tested 1096 clinical samples for the presence of novel H1N1 influenza virus and seasonal influenza viruses. Of these 1096 samples, 194 samples (17.7%) were positive for novel H1N1 influenza virus and 197 samples (18%) were positive for seasonal influenza viruses. During outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases accurate and rapid diagnosis is critical for minimizing further spread through timely implementation of appropriate vaccines and antiviral treatment. Since the symptoms of novel H1N1 influenza infection are not specifi c, laboratory confi rmation of suspected cases is of prime importance.