'Stop harping on H1N1 tests'

Pandemic: Docs asked to treat all suspected cases

 
He shared his views during a talk on “Swine Flu in Bangalore: Lessons Learnt and Preparedness” organised by the National Institute of Advanced Studies.

On the 4 pm deadline within which the swab samples should be sent to the NIMHANS Lab, Dr Ravi said: “Testing has nothing to do with the treatment. The doctors can start the treatment if they feel the patient has H1N1 influenza symptoms.”

Joint Director, Communicable Diseases, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Cheluvaraj said that there was no point in harping about the swab results because even if a person is tested negative, it does not guarantee immunity to H1N1 influenza.
Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) Dr Shashidhar Buggi said three patients who died in RGICD were all admitted late. “As a result, they came with bilateral pneumonia and were put on ventilator,” he said, adding: "The big task before us now is to predict the H1N1 cases and contain it.” Some patients were found to be H1N1 positive but did not show any symptoms, said Dr Buggi.

Dr Ravi, who has seen two epidemics in his career as clinical virologist, revealed that since August 5, the NIMHANS Lab had received 4,278 samples. Out of this, 1,296 were tested and 293 came as positive.

While pointing out that the process of testing swabs was a laborious and expensive procedure, he said: “In the last 21 days, our lab has spent Rs 75 lakh and this is just for reagents. And there are still 2,982 samples yet to be tested.”

However, he stressed that there was no need to go for tests if the physicians felt that the person did not fall in category 'C'.

“We cannot completely do away with the swab tests as we need to check whether people are contracting new illnesses or if it's just H1N1 influenza.”

About the vaccine, Dr Ravi said that the Indian companies received one prototype of the virus. “I don’t think any vaccine will come out before December,” he said, adding that in the US the vaccines were expected to be released by October.

Dr Buggi said that they have allowed some Homeopathy doctors to set up base in the RGICD premises since Tuesday. However, Dr Ravi clarified that there was no evidence that alternative medicines cured H1N1 influenza.

Meanwhile, Dr S Yathiraj, Dean of Veterinary College, Hebbal, stressed that people should not use the term ‘Swine Flu’ when talking about H1N1 influenza.

“Every epidemic has been given some nomenclature. However, in this case, you cannot call H1N1 influenza ‘Swine Flu’ because fever in pigs, which goes by the same name, is quite prevalent in India. However it is not a communicable disease," he pointed out.

Two more cases

One fresh H1N1 influenza case was reported in Udupi district on Wednesday. With this the total number of  cases in Udupi has reached 21, reports DHNS. Six more suspected cases have been reported.

One more suspected  case was reported in Mangalore on Wednesday. The report of the throat swab samples of the three suspected cases reported on Tuesday is awaited.

Govt will reimburse bills: CM

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Wednesday reiterated that the Government would reimburse medical bills to private hospitals treating H1N1 influenza, reports DHNS from Bangalore. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a BJP meeting, Yeddyurappa said the Government was committed to reimburse medical bills. “Private hospitals should provide treatment free of cost to patients and the government will reimburse their bills. They need not wait for any written direction or government order,” he said.

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