Nine more cases in City

Pandemic: Tremendous shortage of testing material in hospitals

Testing Time: A doctor checking a child at RGICD, on Thursday. DH photo

A total of 11 new cases of H1N1 were diagnosed in the State on Thursday, out of which nine were from Bangalore and the other two were from Manipal and Attavar. This takes the confirmed H1N1 influenza tally in the State to 115 with further 595 being suspected cases.

According to official figures, 66 patients who were diagnosed with H1N1 influenza have been discharged and a total of 49 patients are still undergoing treatment.

Of the patients undergoing treatment, 42 are being treated in Bangalore with the other seven being in Mangalore and Manipal. A total of 280 samples were collected on Thursday and 60 were deemed to be serious.

Principal Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department I R Perumal said the state will follow all the directives from the Centre in addressing the pandemic and was already taking necessary precautions.

“I would also advise the public to avoid crowded places and maintain at least five feet distance from people with flu,” he said.

Perumal added that the department was awaiting the recommendations and directives arising out of an emergency meeting convened by the prime minister.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, health department officials refused to rule out banning public gatherings, but maintained that they have special instructions from the Central government to avoid knee-jerk reactions.

Tamiflu stock
The department officials provided a reassurance that there were sufficient Tamiflu stock and requested the public to maintain calm. However, they also admitted that the Tamiflu syrup which is administered to children was available in limited quantity. On recent reports of shortage in testing kits, Perumal said that there was no shortage in kits as reported. He also said that there was no clinical evidence of alternative systems of medicine being effective in tackling the deadly virus but if proved, the department would not hesitate to use the other systems.

UK policy
However, the Head of the Department of Neuro-Virology at Nimhans Dr V Ravi said, “It is not a shortage of kits but there is a tremendous shortage in testing material which has to be procured by hospitals.” He added that the State government had ordered for 500 kits which was expected to arrive on Friday. Ravi said the government was likely to adopt the policy adopted by the UK in tackling swine flu and will “discontinue the policy of testing everyone”. “We will go by the clinicians’ prerogative and test only people that are deemed to be at high risk. Further we will not wait for the test results to administer Tamiflu and go by the clinicians judgment,” he said.

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