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Tuesday, October 16, 2001

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Govt rules out anthrax outbreak

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, OCT. 15. Allaying apprehensions of an anthrax outbreak in Tamil Nadu, the Government today asserted that not a single case of the disease caused by bacterial infection had been reported in the past few weeks.

No human life was afflicted, the Health Secretary, Mr. S. Munir Hoda, told reporters here. The State was well-prepared to tackle any outbreak and more than adequate stock of antibiotics was available with the department, he said.

Asserting that there was no cause for alarm over any possible incidence, Mr. Hoda said it could be contained, if detected at an early stage, with a required dosage of antibiotics.

The common symptoms of anthrax were skin sores, fever, headache, shivering, pneumonia and chest pain.

Mr. Hoda, who was recently in Australia to attend a conference on AIDS control, said the rate of increase of AIDS had not increased. The State would follow the model adopted by Thailand, which had successfully implemented AIDS control and awareness measures. The Government would supply free contraceptives to sex workers.

As for the proposed ban on smoking in public places, use of tobacco products and gutka, he said draft Bills were being prepared and would be introduced in the next Assembly session.

To fill up vacancies of medical personnel in 1410 primary health centres, the Government recruited 350 women doctors. They would be posted shortly in the PHCs in rural areas with scant health care services particularly for women. Steps would be taken to fill up the remaining 400 vacancies of doctors.

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