Swine flu fear grips Odisha

Fear of swine flu outbreak has gripped the state of Odisha after two patients in a private hospital here were detected with the dreadful flu during the last 48 hours.

Both the cases have been confirmed by the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) here, the only health laboratory in the state to conduct tests for H1N1 virus.

Both the patients are women and belong to the coastal districts of Jagatsinghpur and Angul districts, sources in the state health department said on Monday. The women were shifted to the Bhubaneswar hospital after they showed symptoms of the fearsome flu in the district hospitals.

The news of the detection of the flu has triggered panic among the people as the disease has made a comeback to the state after a year. “The state was free from swine flu last year. Therefore, the re-emergence of the dreaded flu has created fear among the residents,” said Ravi Goud, a Bhubaneswar resident.

Though, not a single swine flu case was detected in the state in 2011, the HINI virus had claimed 30 lives in different districts in the state in 2010. Similarly, the state had witnessed three deaths because of the dreaded influenza in 2009.

Health Minister Damodar Rout has appealed to the people not to panic as “adequate steps have already been taken to combat the situation”. “We are keeping a close watch on the situation and therefore, there is no reason to panic. We are on high alert,” he said. The minister said the district headquarters and hospitals have been directed to set up special wards for swine flu patients.

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