44 swine flu cases in India, but Azad says no worries (Roundup)

June 18th, 2009 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Bangalore/Bhubaneswar, June 18 (IANS) Nine people, including a 12-year-old boy, were confirmed to have contracted swine flu virus in India Thursday, taking the total number of people infected with the A(H1N1) influenza in the country to 44. But Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad reiterated there was no need to worry.
Delhi reported five cases, followed by Bangalore (three) and Hyderabad (one). All patients are undergoing treatment in the isolation facilities.

While three of the patients in Delhi have returned from the US, Japan and Australia, the remaining are human-to-human infections. “They are family contacts of the two positive cases reported Wednesday,” a health ministry communique said.

“So far samples of 370 persons have been tested. Of these 44 have been tested positive for the Influenza A [H1N1]. Of these, only four are indigenous cases who got the infection from the positive cases traveled from abroad,” the ministry said.

Of the 44 cases, 16 have been discharged. “The rest of the patients are all stable and remain admitted to the identified health facility,” the ministry said.

The person who tested positive in Hyderabad too had returned from the US.

S. Buggi, director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases in Bangalore, told IANS: “Two businessman, aged 38 and 48, who arrived in Bangalore from Bangkok a couple of days back were found positive with A (H1N1) virus. The 12-year-old boy had returned from Los Angeles.”

“All the patients are doing well and are healthy. We have kept them in isolation wards,” he said, adding that the boy’s family members have tested negative.

“The 29-year-old woman and her three-year-old daughter (the first two confirmed cases in Bangalore), are recovering fast. Their latest throat swab samples have turned negative,” Buggi added.

Unperturbed by the growing number of positive cases, Health Minister Azad told reporters in Bhubaneswar: “There is nothing to worry. The situation is under control.”

He said while the US is one-fourth of India in terms of population, it had so far reported 18,000 cases and 44 of them have died.

“Similarly in Canada, 6,000 cases were reported. In Japan, 3,000 cases were so far reported. Compared to these countries, the situation in India could be said fully under control,” said the minister.

Meanwhile, one girl in Gujarat was quarantined after she showed swine flue-like symptoms on returning from the US.

Among the 31 schoolchildren in Jalandhar who returned from the US, 14 children continue to be under medication. Of them, eight have so far been tested positive. They have responded to treatment. The remaining children and about 296 contacts are under chemoprophylaxis.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), at least 76 countries have officially reported 39,620 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection, including 167 deaths. Most of these deaths have been reported from Mexico (108) and the US (44).

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