M'rashtra sets up core panel

Flu scare: More screening, treatment centres in Mumbai, Pune

Precautionary Steps: Children come out of Kasturba Hospital as the number of patients suffering from swine flu increased in Mumbai on Sunday. PTI

Four new cases were reported in the state - three from Pune and one from Navi Mumbai.

The core group, which includes officials from the health, education, home, social welfare and concerned departments, will take steps to deal with the situation arising out of the swine flu outbreak.

“We are taking all possible measures, and strictly monitoring the developments across the state,” Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said after chairing an emergency meeting of health and education officials to discuss the H1N1 situation in the state.

The government will make available the Tamiflu drug to private hospitals to enable them treat the flu cases they get.

Three Maharashtra patients — Rida Shaikh, 14, and Sanjay Kokare, 42, both from Pune, and Fehmida Paanwala, 53, from Mumbai — who succumbed to the swine flu had been first taken to private hospitals after they developed symptoms of H1N1.

Call to the media
In order to streamline the information dissemination process, a top official will hold daily media briefings in Mantralaya  followed by similar briefings at concerned district headquarters, Chavan said. The chief minister appealed to the media to refrain from crowding at government hospitals or screening centres since it created obstacles in the work of the officials and instead contact the designated officials concerned for information and daily updates.

The government has also decided that it would not be practical to distribute face masks (N-95) to all medical and health personnel.

“Hence, we have decided that such masks would be given only to the medicos involved in treating the patients and those coming in contact with them, like family members,” Chavan said. 

He said there are 962 suspected H1N1 cases in the state, of which 230 were detected positive.

Another 209 patients were discharged after successful treatment, he said.

Chavan announced that the government plans to open more screening and treatment centres in Mumbai and Pune.

Update
Delhi school shuts for a week
* The privately run Sanskriti School here will be closed for a week after two of its students from class 4 and class 11 tested positive for swine flu, a teacher said on Sunday, reports IANS from New Delhi. The school is located in south Delhi’s diplomatic enclave Chanakyapuri.
“On Sunday, parents were told that the school will be shut until August 17 as a precaution. We don’t want the infection to spread in the school. It’s best to nip the problem in the bud,” teacher Anjali Bali said.
 
TN govt to do swab tests on 4-year-old
* The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday said it wants to “re-validate” swab tests done on a four-year-old boy with suspected swine flu symptoms as only gastric-related samples were sent for tests and not the usual nose and throat samples, reports PTI from Chennai.
S Ilango, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine said it “was not a typical case” since the boy had not travelled to any country. His father had recently been to Singapore. The boy, admitted to a private hospital, is critical and suffering from multiple-organ ailments, he said. “We will be sending the nose and throat swabs to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases in New Delhi,” he said.

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