No swine flu in India, but three suspects under scanner (Lead)

May 6th, 2009 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) India continues to be free of swine flu but three airline passengers with suspected influenza A (H1N1) symptoms have been quarantined in hospitals in the country, officials said Wednesday.
“Two persons who disembarked at Hyderabad airport (Andhra Pradesh) have been kept under observation while one from Jalandhar (Punjab) reported to a hospital himself. The clinical samples of all of them have been sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) for testing,” an official statement from the health ministry said.

According to the officials, so far the samples of 20 people have been tested and found negative for influenza A (H1N1). The three fresh suspects arrived from countries affected by swine flu.

With reports coming in that people have started stocking Tamiflu, the anti-viral drug given to people with flu infection, the health ministry Wednesday issued an advisory that retail sale of Oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu) is not permitted in India.

“Retail sale of Tamiflu is not permitted in India and chemists are not authorised to sell it. Indiscriminate use of this drug by the public could result in the virus developing resistance to the drug,” the statement said.

The Indian government is maintaining adequate stockpiles of Tamiflu and this shall be distributed free through the public health network in case of the need to cater to confirmed cases of the disease, the statement said.

Health screening of passengers coming from affected countries is continuing in 21 international airports at Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Calicut, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Varanasi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Srinagar, Trichy and Trivandrum.

“A total of 39,315 passengers have been screened and around 5,987 passengers were from affected countries. One hundred and sixty five doctors and 86 paramedics have been deployed to man 67 counters at the above airports,” the statement added.

World Health Organization has reported 1,516 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza with 30 deaths from 22 countries.

-Indo-Asian News Service


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