Toll mounts to seven; Centre battles virus

864 cases of swine flu detected so far

Children wearing masks sit in a classroom at a school in Mumbai on Monday. Reuters

As many as 95 new H1N1 cases, including two deaths, were officially reported on Monday.

But late evening, another Pune resident, Sanjay Tilekar, 35, has reportedly become the  seventh victim.

While the Centre advised school kids with cough, cold, running nose, sore throat, body ache, chills and fatigue to stay at home till they recover fully, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday said: “This hold equally good for adults also. Why should it be only school children? Parents, government officers, mediapersons, politicians... everybody with symptoms should stay at home till clinically tested,”Azad said here on Monday after a review meeting attended by the Cabinet secretary. 

The Centre is not in favour of closing down schools without restricting children’s movements. “Mere closure of schools will not solve the problem unless children confine themselves to their homes. If they continue to move around and socialise, closure of schools will not serve any purpose,” he said.

“What’s the point in closing if the children instead of being at home, go to malls or movie or market. If they are infected, the virus will spread anyway. Symptomatic kids must stay at home till recovered,” the minister said.

Notwithstanding the advisory, many schools in metro cities have closed down temporarily after a handful of their students detected positive. Officials attribute the schools’ hasty acts to the prevailing panic situation.

The panic seems to be coming from high H1N1 count and a continuous rise in the death toll; 95 new cases were reported on Monday taking the tally to 959 and seven deaths, three of which happened in the last 24 hours.

Out of the 95 fresh cases, the maximum number was detected in Pune (47)followed by Mumbai (22), Delhi (14), Panchgani (6), Mangalore (3), Noida (1), Ajmer (1) and Gurgaon (1). Deaths were reported from Pune and Chennai only.

Four-and-a-half- year-old asthmatic  B Sanjay, who contracted the virus from his Singapore-returned father was admitted on August 5 to a local hospital in Perungudi with a history of fever and loose bowel movements for two days.

The next day his condition became critical due to multi-organ failure. On August 8, doctors at Mehta Hospital where he was undergoing dialysis for kidney failure suspected him as a case of influenza A (H1N1).

His was subsequently found to be positive. Immediately he was put on Tamiflu. But his condition worsened, and he died on August 10.

Babasaheb Mane, a 32-year-old Ayurvedic doctor, was admitted to Inlaks Budhrani Hospital in Pune on August 6 with a history of fever, sore-throat and body pain.

He was shifted to Sassoon Hospital on August 7 where he was put on ventilator. He died on Monday.

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