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Home > News > PTI

Two-member team to investigate
Bhopal deaths

April 05, 2003 00:30 IST

In the midst of a global scare over the killer respiratory disease, the government is sending a two-member team of experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to Bhopal to investigate reports of nine deaths from suspected pneumonia and a patient undergoing treatment with similar symptoms.

According to Director General of Health Services S P Aggarwal, the team consists of a Deputy Director of Epidemiology and Joint Director of Microbiology from NICD.

There were reports that nine people had died in Bhopal over last two-three months with pneumonia like symptoms, he said, adding an 18-year-boy was being treated in isolation in a hospital since April 2.

The boy was suffering from fever and cough and had difficulty in breathing, he said, adding ICMR had offered to test the blood and sputum samples of the patient if need be.

Aggarwal said that officials had talked to the health authorities in Bhopal who indicated that the patient did not seem to be suffering from Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome as he has no history of travel to a SARS-affected country.

The team would look into all the epidemiology-related questions such as whether there was any clustering of cases, he said.

Agarwal said pneumonia could result from several reasons such as bacterial or viral infection. AIDS may also cause pneumonia.

He said the health status of a group of ten people who had returned to India on March 29 after travelling to Hong Kong and China is being monitored.

Meanwhile, the proforma, which is to determine the health status of all those coming to India from other countries and to educate them on SARS is with the Home Ministry.

The Immigration Department has been given 60,000 copies for distribution at all airports, Aggarwal said.

The government has asked the immigration officials to be on the lookout for symptoms related to SARS among air travellers.

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