Man suspected of swine flu fails to turn up for tests

April 30th, 2009 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, April 30 (IANS) An NRI who landed here from Texas with suspected symptoms of swine flu has not turned up at a government-run hospital despite the advice of doctors. Now the health authorities are keeping a watch on him.
For the second consecutive day, the 26-year-old youth failed to turn up at Andhra Pradesh Government Chest Hospital, the nodal centre to deal with such cases.

The officials of medical and health department are trying to convince the youth to undergo necessary tests at the hospital, which has the required wherewithal including four rooms for quarantine.

The officials, however, said there was no need for panic as it was not yet confirmed if the man from Texas had symptoms of the epidemic. The first swine flu death outside Mexico took place in Texas.

L.V. Subramanyam, principal secretary, medical and health, told IANS that the man suffering from cold and related complaints approached a corporate hospital on his own after landing here Tuesday.

The doctors advised him to approach the Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM), where he underwent preliminary tests for cold and respiratory problems Wednesday. The IPM later referred him to the chest hospital, a notified facility which has pulmonologists.

“We will make him undergo tests at the chest hospital. Though his family says that he is hale and hearty, we don’t want to take any risk as anybody suffering from flu will have to be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease,” Subramanyam said.

Sudha Ramna, director medical education, however, said the man is “perfectly alright” and that it was a “false alarm”.

The man and his family members refused to meet a team of officials sent by the department to his house Thursday morning, saying this would give a feeling to their neighbours that he is afflicted by the disease.

Subramanyam, however, denied he was found to have symptoms of the flu during the screening at the airport soon after his arrival from Texas.

A team of two doctors with two ambulances has been deployed at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here since Wednesday to screen the passengers who have visible signs of flu like cold, fever and upper respiratory infection.

The authorities are keeping a watch on those passengers arriving from the countries hit by the flu. If anybody is found with the symptoms, he has to be isolated and put on Tamiflu.

However, the authorities have no diagnostic facilities here. “The throat swab or blood samples of suspected cases have to be sent to Virology lab in Pune,” he said.

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