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No swine flu in India

IANS
May 03, 2009 at 07:56am IST

New Delhi: Health authorities in India on Saturday heaved a sigh of relief as the sixth and last sample of a London-based NRI, suspected to be suffering from swine flu, was found negative like that of the other five, an official said.

"We have received the test result of the last sample taken from the NRI, Anurag, and it has been found negative. He will be discharged Sunday," NK Chaturvedi, medical superintendent of the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital here, told IANS on Saturday evening.

"All the suspect cases of swine flu who were were brought here have tested negative," he said.

NO WORRIES: The Health Ministry confirmed that there are no cases of swine flu in India.

The health ministry confirmed there are no cases of influenza A (H1N1) - commonly known as swine flu - in India. Across Asia, four confirmed swine flu cases have been reported so far.

"We have drawn samples of five passengers (who arrived in India from abroad) over past 24 hours and all samples have tested negative," Health Secretary Vineet Chawdhry told reporters.

"As of now there is no case of H1N1 virus in India. There is nothing to be panicky about it and we have our system in place to deal with any situation," he said.

Of the six suspected cases, two were non-resident Indians (NRIs) and all of them came to India in the past fortnight.

A man of Indian origin arrived here from London on Saturday morning and was admitted to the RML Hospital with suspected swine flu symptoms. However, he left the hospital on his own, doctors said, though they had advised him to stay there for three days.

The 35-year-old man from London was subjected to screening at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA). He was found to have a running nose, cough and throat irritation. He was admitted to the isolation ward of the RML hospital, its medical superintendent Chaturvedi said earlier.

"We have collected his clinical samples and they have been forwarded to NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases) for laboratory tests. He left the hospital on the pretext of staying with his relatives in Delhi. We did try to tell him that the weather is very bad and he should stay in the hospital."

A 25-year-old man from Texas turned up at the RML hospital Friday with swine flu symptoms after reading media reports on the disease.

"The NRI from Texas landed in India April 19 and had fever for two days. His clinical samples have tested negative and he is in hospital for some other medical reason," Chawdhry said.

According to Chaturvedi, the RML hospital is fully equipped to handle the flu and has a dedicated team of doctors to treat infected people.

"We have a full-fledged isolation ward with 30 beds. There are 20 doctors and 12 nurses on duty. We also have 1,000 Tamiflu tablets. If there is a shortage of Tamiflu tablets then the NICD will provide it. RML also has 100 medical kits which consist of protective gowns, gloves, eye-gears, syringes and scissors," he said.

India has increased surveillance at all international airports and ports with passengers from swine flu infected countries undergoing mandatory medical checks.

Health screening of passengers coming from affected countries is continuing at international airports at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Goa, Amritsar, Cochin, Ahmedabad, Trichy and Srinagar.

"More than 20,000 passengers have been screened. As of now, no case has been reported in India, and we are fully prepared to handle any case," Chawdhry said.

The official said 96 doctors have been deployed to man 32 counters at the 12 international airports. "Maximum counters (eight) are at Delhi airport while minimum counters are at Trichy airport," he said.

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