SAP employees tested positive for H1N1 virus in B'luru

Two SAP employees tested positive for H1N1 virus in Bengaluru; offices closed temporarily

All SAP India offices across Bengaluru, Gurugram and Mumbai have been closed for extensive sanitisation

Representative image (iStock photo)

Software company SAP closed its offices in three cities as a precautionary measure after two employees of its Bengaluru branch tested positive for H1N1 virus.

Employees of the company, located in RMZ Ecoworld on the Outer Ring Road, Marathahalli, received an internal memorandum saying two of their colleagues had contracted H1N1 virus and hence the employees were required to work from home for the next eight days till “contact tracing” could be completed.

Contact tracing is the process of identification of persons who may have come into contact with an infected person.

The company said the move was a “precautionary measure” taken not just for the Bengaluru office but for its Gurugram and Mumbai premises as well. While the memorandum stated that this was an action taken to prioritise employees’ health, experts felt closing down offices was unnecessary and the company was mimicking covid-19 (coronavirus) precautions.

DH could not reach SAP for a comment. Other companies in RMZ Ecoworld sent emails to their employees to take precaution but have not closed offices.

So far, 175 cases of H1N1 have been reported in the state with no deaths. Last year, 2,030 cases were recorded and 96 deaths were reported. Dr G Arun Kumar, virologist of Manipal Institute of Virology who first detected the Nipah virus in Kerala, told DH, “H1N1 was new before 2009. It first entered India that year. Now, it is already there in the community. Contact tracing is unnecessary as the virus has modified itself over the years. Maybe this was an administrative decision. They’re mimicking measures taken after coronavirus outbreak in other countries.”

Dr Murali Mohan, pulmonologist from Narayana Health, said, “We put immediate family members on prophylaxis but we don’t do contact tracing. Every hospital has cases of H1N1. We take care of the doctors and nursing staff who are directly taking care of the patients in terms of protective gear but we don’t trace every single person the patient has come in contact with and we certainly don’t close down institutions.”

Dr B G Prakash, Joint Director, Communicable Diseases, Department of Health and Family Welfare said there was no need to panic. Asked if the Health Department was was planning an intervention, he said, “No we will not, it is their (the company’s) call.”

Other companies in RMZ Ecoworld sent emails to their employees to take precaution. An email from Garett Advancing Motion to their employees read, “It was clarified that the infection was reported in building 8A (next to RMZ Bay Area) and necessary steps for sanitation and fumigation of the effected floors have been initiated to prevent the virus from spreading,” it said, adding that RMZ authorities have put in place additional measures in all the buildings on the campus.

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