H1N1 cases on the rise

Air passengers wear protective respiratory masks as precaution against swine flu virus at IGI Airport in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Authorities at the designated hospitals that tested the swab samples of some patients here and across the State confirmed that 22 persons were found carrying the A(H1N1) virus, taking the total number of positive cases to 194 with 834 categorised as “suspected”. Of the positive cases, all barring one were detected in hospitals across Bangalore with Udupi registering the remaining. As many as seven A(H1N1) positive cases were detected at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), while five were diagnosed at Sagar Apollo, followed by two each at the Command Hospital and Victoria. One case each was reported at M S Ramaiah, Pristine, Vydehi, Manipal and Shifa hospitals.

In the backdrop of the growing number of A(H1N1) positive cases and the delay in detection, the State Government is planning to open seven additional safety level-3 laboratories across Karnataka. Health and Family Welfare Director Dr Usha Vasunkar said the State Government has written to the Union Health Ministry seeking it approval for the high-safety laboratories.

The government’s move comes in the wake of a severe shortage of laboratories for testing throat swabs. Currently, Nimhans is the only centre with the facility and the government has plans to start five additional level-3 safety laboratories in Bangalore and one each in Bellary and Belgaum.

Vasunkar also revealed that officials from the health department held meetings with Homeopathy and Ayurveda practitioners in an effort to tackle the spread of the virus. She issued a caution to grieving family members of those who have died so far to avoid close contact with the bodies as the virus could be active.

Meanwhile, the death of a 20-year-old youth, Manjunath, at Victoria Hospital early on Tuesday was found not to have been caused by the A(H1N1) virus. Health Department Commissioner Srinivasachari P N confirmed late on Tuesday evening that tests on swab samples of Manjunath turned out to be negative.

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