India prepared to tackle swine flu, no case yet: officials

May 1st, 2009 - 8:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) India is fully prepared to tackle influenza A (H1N1), popularly known as swine flu, health officials said here Friday. No case of swine flu has been reported in India yet.
“Health screening of passengers coming from affected countries is continuing at international airports at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Goa, Amritsar, Cochin, Ahmedabad, Trichy and Srinagar. The remaining international airports would also start this activity shortly,” health ministry joint secretary Vineet Chawdhry told media persons here.

“More than 20,000 passengers have been screened. As of now, no case has been reported in India, and we are fully prepared to handle any case,” Chawdhry added.

The official said 96 doctors have been deployed to man 32 counters at the 12 international airports.

About stockpiling the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu, Chawdhry said manufacturers of the drug at a meeting with the department of pharmaceuticals officials assured them that 10 million doses would be provided soon.

He said the manufacturers have also promised that if more doses are needed, these would be made available in four to six weeks’ time.

“The drug is quite effective. But it cannot be bought over the counter and is available through the public health systems,” he added.

Asked about one suspected flu case of a 27-year-old NRI passenger, who returned to Hyderabad from Texas, US, April 28 and had developed symptoms of common cold, Chawdhry said: “The report (of his tests) is not out.”

Officials said Thursday that the final report will take 24 to 48 hours. But preliminary report had not shown he had any symptoms of swine flu.

Chawdhry said on Sunday Minister of State for Health P. Lakshmi is holding a review meeting on India’s preparedness.

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