'Remain calm, don't declare holidays'

'Remain calm, don't declare holidays'

Pandemic: Managements told to be liberal in granting leave to sick children

School’s Shut!: A notice board displays the holiday announcement at Frank Anthony Public School in Bangalore on Monday. DH PHOTOBriefing the media after a high-level meeting of Health Department officials chaired by Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao in Bangalore, Health Commissioner P N Srinivasachari said the present situation did not warrant declaring holidays to schools to check the spread of the virus.

However, students with flu like symptoms should not be allowed to attend classes. The school managements should be liberal in granting leave to such students. School authorities should not insist on medical certificates from students to sanction leave, he said.

Local community affected

Meanwhile, he said the virus has now spread to the local community with 17 people, who volunteered themselves to be screened for H1N1 testing at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), during the last five days.

There has been rush at the Institute with people having flu like symptoms eager to get themselves screened, since the first fatality due to the virus on August 5.
Srinivasachari said these 17 patients have not been abroad and have contracted the infection from others.

These cases are in addition to the 81 passengers who tested positive for the virus during the screening process at the international airports in Bangalore and Mangalore since April 29.

However, there was no need to panic. All the patients have been responding well to treatment and 53 have been cured and discharged. Presently, 28 patients have been admitted to various hospitals for treatment for swine flu and three are undergoing home quarantine.

More hospitals roped in

Srinivasachari said the government has decided to allow 10 more private hospitals in the city to treat H1N1 suspects. This is in addition to the existing 13 designated hospitals in Bangalore. Training for the hospital microbiology staff to conduct the swab test is presently on and the list of new hospitals will be  announced on Tuesday. One lakh Tamiflu tablets have been distributed to various hospitals, he added RGICD Director Shashidhar Buggi said patients can get treated at any of the hospitals and not necessarily rush to RGICD premises.

Not every flu is H1N1 and the fatalities in India have only been due to associated condition of the patients. Those with flu like symptoms can consult the general physician and meantime wear a mask as a precautionary measure.  I R Perumal, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare said district hospitals too have been readied to conduct swab tests and have been provided with Tamiflu tablets.

The health department has already commenced its programme of screening one crore students from standard one to 10 across 46,000 schools in State for H1N1 during the annual health check-up camp.

H1N1 helpline

The government has decided to establish a control room and start a helpline - 1056 - to provide details and measures to check the spread of H1N1 virus.

Health Department Principal Secretary said calls made to 1056 will be attended to by trained doctors. Information on symptoms, the screening process, the do’s and don’ts  besides the list of the designation hospitals to treat patients will be provided.