No suspected case of swine flu in India: WHO

April 30th, 2009 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) Thursday said India has not reported any swine flu case and the country is prepared to handle a possible outbreak.
Even as news of confirmed swine flu cases are going up in the world, India is putting its surveillance in place to check any infection slipping in.

“There has been no suspected case in India,” J.P. Narain, director communicable disease in the WHO regional office for Southeast Asia, told reporters here.

Asked about reports that an NRI who had flown from Texas to Hyderabad has been found with the flu symptoms, Narain said: “We spoke to the Indian health officials and they told us that the laboratory results (of the NRI) were negative.”

The WHO in Geneva Wednesday night raised the pandemic alert for swine flu by one level to Phase 5. The declaration of Phase 5 by WHO Director General Margaret Chan is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent, but not inevitable. The second-highest phase is characterised by human-to-human spread of the virus in at least two countries in one WHO region.

Narain said there is a “strong signal that a pandemic is imminent”.

“India is quite prepared and has the capacity to deal with any outbreak. We have the surveillance in place,” he said.

In Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, there have been close to 160 deaths and nearly 2,500 infections due to the disease.

Of the infected cases, more than 1,300 are in hospital, but most have not yet been identified as swine flu cases. Apart from Mexico, WHO reported confirmed swine flu cases in Canada, the US, Israel, Spain, Britain and New Zealand. Costa Rica also reported two confirmed cases.

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