IT professionals make a beeline for medical check-up

SEARCH FOR PROTECTION: Google employees wait outside the out-patient block for testing of H1N1 swine flu at the Government Chest Hospital in Hyderabad on Wednesday. AP

Swine flu has created a scare in the city with employees of several IT companies coming to the AP Chest Hospital here for check up.

As many as 60 techies visited the government-run hospital on Wednesday, while 50 had undergone check up on Tuesday, said S V Prasad, Superintendent, AP Chest Hospital.

Prasad said the techies from different IT firms visited the outpatient ward of the hospital. The rush is due to a contact history of one of the employees who contracted the virus from a software engineer who had tested positive for H1N1 virus, he said.

Meanwhile, the swine flu scare has forced Internet search giant Google to shut down its city office for two days from Wednesday, as a precautionary measure.

According to a company official, Google has announced a two-day holiday for its employees to enable them to undergo screening for H1N1 virus.

Over 1,000 employees of the firm were told to contact the hospital after a staffer tested positive. He was among the six employees of the three IT companies who contracted the virus from a software engineer, who returned to the city from Houston, United States, on July 5, health officials said.

The 29-year-old techie, who approached the hospital on July 11 after he developed swine flu symptoms, spread the infection to the employees of the IT companies with whom he worked, they said. The 60 persons who turned up at the hospital were from different software firms. These techies had come in contact with the software engineer who tested positive for the H1N1 virus, and hence they were in a panicky situation, Prasad said.

The hospital is unable to cope with the rising number of suspected swine flu cases and those coming for medical check up since the bed strength is full and their resources are constrained, he said.

Hence, more medical centres have been set up in the city to deal with the cases, he said.
Meanwhile, Prasad said as on Wednesday there were 22 swine flu cases (14 confirmed and eight suspected) under treatment at the chest hospital.

These include a 28-year-old student, who arrived here from Sydney, the latest to test positive on Wednesday, he said.

With this, the total number of confirmed cases in Andhra Pradesh has gone up to 31.
Prasad said they had sensitised the other hospitals and provided them with kits and drugs to deal with the situation.

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