India confirms three fresh swine flu cases, total eight (Lead)June 6th, 2009 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS
Hyderabad/New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) India Saturday reported three fresh cases of swine flu, including a woman and her four-and-a-half-year old daughter, in the Andhra Pradesh capital, taking the total confirmed cases to eight so far.
Those who tested positive for influenza A (H1N1) also include the 24-year-old brother of a techie who had returned from the US May 31 with the infection. Doctors and health officials said this is the first indigenous case of swine flu in India.
“While others who tested positive had come from other countries, the 24-year-old is the first person to be infected without travelling abroad,” L.V. Subrahmanyam, principal secretary health, government of Andhra Pradesh, told IANS.
Of the eight cases, six are from Hyderabad, which also reported the first case in the country May 16.
A 30-year-old woman and her four-and-a-half-year old daughter, who travelled along with the 28-year-old techie from Philadelphia to Hyderabad via London on May 31 were also found infected.
All the infected people have been kept in isolation and are being treated at the government-run Chest Hospital in Hyderabad.
Four others who travelled with the techie by British Airways flight BA 277 on May 31 are also under observation. “We have sent samples of two of them to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi, while the samples of two others are being sent,” Subrahmanyam said.
The official said all those who travelled with the techie were being traced. Health officials have already appealed to those who travelled in proximity to the man to come forward and undergo the tests at the Chest Hospital, the nodal centre to deal with swine flu cases.
The officials asked all the air passengers who had developed swine flu symptoms after reaching home to approach the Chest Hospital as it alone has the required facilities to quarantine the patients and treat them. “Some passengers are going to private hospitals but this will not help,” said K. Subhakar, the coordinator of the nodal centre.
Subrahmanyam said all international air passengers were being screened after their arrival at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad here. Those found with visible symptoms of swine flu are being directly sent to the Chest Hospital.
“We have so far screened 80,000 passengers at the airport,” said the official. He also confirmed that a team of doctors from NICD is arriving in Hyderabad to study the steps taken to screen the passengers and treat the confirmed cases.
The 28-year-old techie who arrived from Philadelphia on May 31 had gone home after his arrival at the airport. He later developed high fever and approached the Chest Hospital on June 2. The next day he tested positive for H1N1 influenza.
In New Delhi, Shiv Lal, head of NICD, told IANS that there were now eight confirmed cases of swine flu in India.
“It is now confirmed that the techie transmitted the virus to his brother and a girl and her mother who were travelling with him on the same flight,” he said.
“The two adults have been put on (anti-flu drug) Oseltamivir, as are the others,” Lal said.
The girl is being given Tamiflu syrup to combat the virus. “She is very young to take the drugs given to adults so we are giving her the syrup,” he said.
“The NICD team will reach Hyderabad tonight along with a multi-disciplinary rapid response team,” Lal said.
Lal said they have so far tested over 150 samples of which eight were found to be confirmed swine flu cases.
India reported its first swine flu infection May 16 - that of a 23-year-old man who travelled by Emirates Airline from New York to Hyderabad via Dubai. He has now been discharged after treatment.
Subhakar said if the World Health Organisation (WHO) raises the level of pandemic alert to six for India, this would solve the problem. “If WHO declares level six, the borders of India will be closed for all those countries affected by the swine flu,” he said.
Health screening of passengers coming from the affected countries is continuing at 21 international airports and over 1.3 million passengers have been screened so far.
The WHO has reported about 21,940 confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection from 69 countries and 125 deaths till June 5.
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