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India better prepared to tackle swine flu: official

Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: Even as the government claims that India is now better prepared to deal with influenza A(H1N1) outbreak than it was four years ago, three persons are being kept under observation here and two in Kochi.

Reports of swab samples of the three admitted to government hospitals in Delhi are being awaited, while the samples from Kochi are yet to reach the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Delhi and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, Vineet Chowdhry, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, told journalists here on Monday.

Earlier, 12 samples tested negative for swine flu, he said, adding no patient was under observation in Hyderabad.

Of the three admitted to the Delhi hospitals, one had volunteered to get himself tested. Two of them had arrived from the United States and the other from Germany. The two in Kochi had visited the U.S., Europe, and came to India via Dubai.

Mr. Chowdhry said screening might be required at road transition points in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar following reports that 84 passengers had entered India via the land route from Nepal. They were now being tracked down. He, however, ruled out sealing of the borders as there was no infection in any of the neighbouring countries. Sealing would only cause inconvenience.

Seaports under watch

Pointing out that seaports were also under observation but no additional medical staff had been deployed there, Mr. Chowdhry said sea travel took longer and it was mainly the crew who arrived at the ports. The Port Health Office was adequate to handle them. Meanwhile, over 45,000 passengers had been screened at 22 airports. The 2,000 passengers who had arrived from Mexico and Canada in the past two weeks were now being screened. The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme was being further activated to maintain a regular check on passengers.

As many as 192 doctors and paramedical staff members were on duty round the clock. Rejecting the suggestion that testing be decentralised, Mr. Chowdhry said samples were being sent to the NICD and the NIV for parallel testing. Only when both reports matched would the results be announced.

Previous reports
  • No swine flu case: government
  • Flu spreads through Europe, Latin America
  • Asia struggles to limit spread of swine flu
  • No flu case in India
  • Suspected swine flu patient in Chest Hospital
  • India free from flu, 20,000 passengers screened
  • Advisory calls for vigil
  • No case of swine flu in India
  • India fully geared, says WHO
  • Will swine flu turn pandemic? - Editorial

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