However, while the Health Department officials attribute the decline in the last few years to better screening and handling of cases, experts said the reporting of cases could also be low due to the pandemic.
Last year, the State had reported 276 swine flu cases and one death, which was much less than the 1,038 cases and four deaths reported in 2019. The year before that was much worse when the State reported 2,812 cases and an alarming 43 deaths due to the infection.
The highest number of influenza cases in last five years was recorded in 2017, when the State had 3,315 cases. However, deaths due to it were comparatively lower at 17.
A senior official from the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine said the numbers have remained low in 2020 and 2021 because of increased number of COVID cases and limited movement of people during the lockdown, which helped reduce the spread of the infection.
However, there are also concerns that there could also be underreporting of H1N1 cases because the focus on several healthcare programmes was not regular due to the pandemic.
Public Health and Preventive Medicine Director Dr TS Selvavinayagam said the State was promptly reporting influenza cases to the National Centre of Diseases Control (NCDC). “The cases of influenza have been low, and the numbers have significantly declined over the years,” he said.