India intensifies flu surveillance, five more suspected cases

May 4th, 2009 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) After airports and ports, India has now intensified surveillance on the border roads, especially along Nepal and Bhutan, to keep a check on any possible influenza A(H1N1) virus cases entering the country even as five more people with suspected swine flu symptoms were quarantined.
Addressing media persons here Monday, Joint Secretary in the health ministry Vineet Chawdhry said five more people - all Indians - with suspected swine flu symptoms were being screened, including two in Kochi in Kerala.

On the plan to intensify surveillance on border roads, he said: “We are planning to introduce screening on road checkposts in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, especially those bordering Nepal and Bhutan.”

He said they have information that about 84 people had come to India by road in the last one week from the border.

“We are tracking these people. They have come from a neighbouring country and have come from swine flu infected countries,” he said, but declined to name the countries the people had come from or their identities.

Chawdhry said the health authorities had so far collected 17 samples of suspected flu cases, of which 12 have been found negative.

“As of today, five people are under observation. None of them are foreigners. They are all Indians. While three of them have been admitted to Delhi government hospitals, two are in Kochi,” the official said.

Among the three suspected to be infected with the flu and being kept in isolation ward in a Delhi hospital, one had come from Germany and two from the US.

“Their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (New Delhi), and the test results are awaited,” Chawdhry said.

He added that the two in Kochi had come from Dubai after visiting the US and Britain.

Chawdhry also said that the government would be able to get one million capsules of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu by Tuesday.

Another eight million would be provided by the Hyderabad-based company Hydro Drugs in one week, he added.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 20 countries have reported 1,000 cases of swine flu so far.

Mexico, the epicentre of the infection, has reported 590 confirmed human cases, including 25 deaths, the WHO said.

Earlier in the day, Health Secretary Naresh Dayal held video conferencing with chief secretaries of 17 states and reviewed their preparedness to tackle any possible flu cases.

In Andhra Pradesh, authorities were waiting for the test results of two suspected cases while two others were declared negative for the virus.

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