Focus more on swine flu as it is highly contagious: Azad

November 14th, 2009 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Saturday said his ministry was focusing on tackling swine flu more than dengue, which had infected 783 people in the national capital, as the former was a “highly contagious” disease.
“Swine flu is a communicable disease whereas dengue is spread by the mosquito bite. Swine flu can spread by the slightest exposure but dengue does not,” Azad told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of the health pavilion on “Healthy Village-Healthy Nation” at the India International Trade Fair here.

Azad was replying to a question that why the government has set up separate wards in government hospitals to house swine flu affected patients as compared to dengue, where the government is yet to make similar arrangements.

The minister said: “We have funded separate swine flu wards in hospitals because it was highly contagions unlike dengue.”

On Saturday, seven swine flu deaths were reported in the country, taking the total toll due to Influenza A (H1N1) virus to 521.

Of these, three people died in Gujarat, two in Kerala and one each in Maharashtra and Uttarakhand. Also, 154 new cases were reported in the country, taking the total number of people affected with the flu to 15,263.

The first swine flu case was recorded in India May 16, while the first death occured Aug 3.

“This doesn’t imply that we are turning a blind eye to the dengue situation,” Azad was quick to add.

“People need to be aware that they should maintain hygienic conditions and not allow breading of mosquitoes,” he said.

“We have to adopt a separate strategy to tackle the diseases since both are very different. In dengue’s case we need to control the breeding and larvae (of the Aedus mosquito),” he said.

Delhi Saturday recorded 34 new cases of dengue, taking the total number of cases due to the vector-borne disease to 783, health officials said.

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