There have been only four cases of influenza reported in Tamil Nadu until August this year, while 276 cases and one death was reported in 2020, as per the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Tamil Nadu reported more than 1,038 cases of H1N1 influenza in 2019 and 2,812 cases in 2018. While the decline in the numbers shows a reduced prevalence, numbers as low as four cases in about eight months in the State points to a lack of proper reporting.
“The reduction in prevalence is possible as there was more number of cleanliness drives, COVID-19 prevention activities and others that also helped in keeping away other diseases such as dengue and influenza. However, co-infection cases of swine flu and COVID-19 were not reported as H1N1 cases mainly, but were treated as COVID-19 cases,” said a senior official from the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.
On the other hand, experts say cases of swine flu and other common flu are likely to see an increase during the monsoon.
“The reporting of swine flu cases and other infectious diseases was impacted during the pandemic and even the activities scheduled for the same were disrupted. However, with relaxations in place, it is necessary to focus on them also. The cases of dengue were not there last year but this year we are seeing some outbreaks. Similarly, the cases of influenza should also be watched out as there might be an increase as the monsoon sets in,” said public health expert Dr K Kolandaisamy.
The state health department officials said that there is no significant increase in the cases of influenza so far and the hospitals are instructed to report all the cases.
“So far, there are no major events of H1N1 influenza cases outbreak and any such cases will be reported to the State health department. We are taking all kinds of fever cases into consideration to prevent any further outbreaks,” said Dr TS Selvavinayagam, director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.