Centre writes to states to create more facilities

War on flu: Guidelines released


Formal letters have been drafted, which will be despatched in a day or two after approval from the Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, sources told Deccan Herald.

States will be requested to create diagnostic and sample collection facilities in three more government hospitals in the capitals.

Also, there should be at least one government hospital in every division where people with influenza symptoms can get themselves checked by trained doctors.

Which means, in the absence of facilities at the district level, people in far flung districts like Bidar, Bijapur and Belgaum will have to rush to Bangalore and Mangalore to get screened if they develop running nose, sore throat and cough. “Earlier our objective was containment. But the virus is in the community so we need to find the maximum number of positive cases. That’s why states are being requested to come up with more facilities,” said an official.

According to the new Central guidelines released on Tuesday, everybody with influenza like symptoms – mild fever, running nose, cough, cold and sore throat – need to go to a designated government hospitals to get themselves checked.

Subsequently, the doctors will decide whether any particular sample can be sent for H1N1 testing.

Earlier, only those who came from abroad or had known contacts with positive cases were screened.

Following the death of a 14 year old girl, the surveillance net has been cast wide.
At the moment, there are only two recognised facilities in Karnataka – Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Disease in Bangalore and Wenlock hospital in Mangalore. Delhi, on the contrary, has 13 designated hospitals.

Rise in number

But with the influenza season setting in, officials are expecting to see a big jump in the number of queuing outside government hospitals as private and charitable hospitals have been kept outside the H1N1 loop so far.

While the government will soon start sensitising private doctors, eventually they will be asked to refer the patients to designated government facilities where Tamiflu stocks will be kept.

Confirmed cases

On Wednesday 22 new laboratory confirmed cases have been reported which include four kids (below 10 years) in Gurgaon and Chennai and six school children from Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.

All of them are more vulnerable to the H1N1 virus compared to the adults.

The maximum number of cases were been reported from the National capital region with Delhi and Gurgaon accounting for 8 cases.

Other places from where the virus was found are Mumbai (4) Pune (3), Bangalore (1), Hyderabad (1), Kolkata (1), Mangalore (1), Jamshedpur (1), Chennai (1), Hoshiarpur (1) and Gurdaspur (1)

As many as 2,617 persons have been tested so far out of which 596 are positive for influenza A H1N1 (Swine).

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