Apr 10, 2012 at 09:51am IST

Swine flu panic goes viral in Chennai

CHENNAI: Though there hasn’t been a steep rise in the number of swine flu cases reported in the city, all the talk over the H1N1 virus has certainly scared people with the regular flu to seek the services of a hospital. According to several private practitioners in Kodungaiyur, Korukkupet, MKB Nagar and Vyasarpadi, the number of women bringing in children with a regular cold and mild fever has almost doubled.
“Normally, we would get about 15-18 cases of runny nose or fever every day, but ever since swine flu cases began showing their face again, people have become extra-cautious to get themselves checked,” said Dr Rajapandian, a family practitioner from Otteri. Most of the worry has been generated because all the persons infected so far have been from North Chennai.
Coming on the back of over 700 health workers across government hospitals being given the immunisation shots to prevent the spread of the disease, this has led to brisk business for several general practitioners and private nursing homes.
Though no hospital wished to come on record regarding the spike in flu walk-ins to their clinics, a senior physician at a hospital admitted, “There have been lot of walk-ins over the last week.
We have been screening more cases for the disease and as per the government’s instruction have referred any suspicious cases to the nearest testing centre.” At a review meeting convened by the Health Minister Dr VS Vijay on Sunday, it was announced that any screening done at the governmentaccredited labs should not cost over Rs 3,000. While this certainly augurs brisk business for private hospitals, government hospitals haven’t seen too much of a spike, surprisingly.
At the Stanley Medical College’s Outpatient ward, the usual number of flu patients have been coming in, confirmed an official source.
At MMC however, flu cases have seen an increase, but mostly out of a false panic as there were no suspicious cases, said a senior doctoradministrator there.
However, large crowds of people were seen leaving the Kings Institute of Preventive Medicine, the primary testing centre in Chennai, even through the Easter weekend.