A circular sent by the state health department last month had also notified the labs to refrain from performing such tests. However, in order to circumvent the state directive, these labs are instead conducting influenza A and B tests on people complaining of swine flu symptoms.
Although it must be understood that influenza A and B can aggravate into H1N1, people testing positive in these tests need not have necessarily contracted swine flu.
Unable to crack down on private labs conducting such tests, the health department has now directed these labs to submit samples of throat and nasal swabs to its office for it to be sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi for confirmation of the communicable disease. Nasal and throat swab is the most common practice to diagnose influenza, also known as flu.
Additional chief medical officer of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) S K Singh expressed 'helplessness' and complained that these labs "do not listen to the health department".
"Labs are conducting influenza A and B tests, which is not a sure-shot way to confirm H1N1 infection. We have now asked them to strictly follow our new directive. If they are found contravening the order, strict action will be taken against them," he added.