A virus that is new to the Indian shores could just be contributing to the current flu epidemic sweeping across the state, especially Pune, say doctors.
While the swine flu-causing H1N1 virus is also an import from Mexico, the new virus that has got National Institute of Virology doctors scrambling for data, is considered to be Australian in origin.
Called the Australian Ross River virus, it is similar to the dengue and chikungunya-causing viruses. Like chikungunya (CHIK-V), it, too, causes arthritis-like pain in the joints.
However, the talk of the Australian virus has incensed state health officials, some of whom feel it could be a covert operation to sell expensive diagnostic kits. "This year, we are seeing a lot of variation in viruses and their manifestations, be it dengue or chikunguya. What is being touted as the Ross River virus could just be a new variant of CHIK-V," said a senior doctor from the health department.