As swine flu tightens grip, Centre rushes team to Punjab
PUNJAB HAS REPORTED 30 SWINE FLU DEATHS AND 300 HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR THE DISEASE SO FAR
NEW DELHI/PATIALA: Concerned over the spurt in swine flu cases and deaths due to the disease in Punjab, the Union health ministry has sent a team to assess the situation and assist the state in strengthening their response mechanism to contain the ailment.
Till February 7, Punjab has reported 30 swine flu deaths and 301 have tested positive for the disease, according to the health ministry data.
The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) team, which comprises a microbiologist, an epidemiologist and a clinician, visited Patiala, the worst-affected district in the state, on Saturday. The district has reported four deaths this year and 44 have tested positive for the disease. Besides, 196 suspected swine flu cases have also been reported.
The central team inspected the testing facilities at the virology laboratory of the Government Medical College. It also visited Rajindra Hospital’s swine flu wards, Mata Kaushalaya Hospital and sub-divisional hospital at Samana to check facilities and availability of medicines to tackle the respiratory disease.
Patiala civil surgeon Manjit Singh said the NCDC team will visit all districts of the state. “The team was satisfied with the arrangements made by the health department to tackle swine flu,” he said. The health department has set up special swine flu wards in all government and civil hospitals, he added.
The death toll due to swine flu in the country has soared to 226 with the H1N1 virus claiming 31 more lives in a week, while the number of those affected crossed the 6,000 mark.
The Centre has also issued an advisory to affected states to involve district collectors in enhancing public awareness and outbreak response.
In a recently held high-powered meeting with senior officials of the ministry, Union health secretary Preeti Sudan reviewed the state of preparedness and action taken to deal with H1N1 influenza cases. The guidelines for influenza vaccination were shared with all the states and the details of manufacturers of vaccine provided by the drug controller general of India was shared with all the states.
Communication material for preventive measures has also been shared with all the states.
“Majority of cases have been reported from 13 states and majority of deaths have been reported from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab. Deaths have been seen more in persons having comorbidities-like diabetes, hypertension etc,” an official said.
■ A swine flu patient at Rajindra Hospital in Patiala.