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08 September 2010
By Sanjeev Shivadekar
Pune patients have chikungunya, not Australian flu
The state can rest easy as 27 of 29 samples sent for testing for the Australian Ross River Virus have tested negative for it, according to a government report.
A doctor in Pune had claimed that he had come across a patient testing positive for the Australian Ross River Virus and was worried about the reports of the new virus contributing to the ongoing flu outbreak in the state. Samples of 29 patients in Pune were collected and sent to the National Institute for Virology (NIV). However, according to the NIV reports of the 29 samples, 27 have tested positive for chikungunya (CHIK–V) and not for the Australian Ross River Virus.
Immediately after the receiving the report from NIV, Pune municipal commissioner Mahesh Zagade, submitted the report to the state government, said a senior official from the public health department. "A report on the other two samples are awaited," he said, adding, "After receiving the remaining two reports,the department can breathe a sigh of relief."
Suresh Shetty, public health minister, confirmed that the NIV report has tested negative for the Australian virus and positive for CHIK–V in 27 cases. The Australian Ross River virus was first identified in Australia in 1959 and is similar to dengue and chikungunya. Like CHIK–V, the Ross Virus too causes arthritis–like pain in joints.