As swine flu tight­ens grip, Cen­tre rushes team to Pun­jab

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - Punjab - HTC and PTI


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.

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