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SARS: Sushma Swaraj ticks off
Mumbai health authorities
May 01, 2003 15:33 IST
The Centre on Thursday said Mumbai health authorities did not take enough precautions while handling the metropolis' first Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome patient by allowing him to leave the hospital even before reports of tests were available.
"Health authorities in Mumbai have admitted to committing a mistake by allowing a suspected SARS patient to leave the hospital while his samples were being tested for SARS virus," Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Sushma Swaraj told reporters in Delhi during a visit to Infectious Diseases Hospital.
The patient on being discharged from Mumbai came to Delhi and is still under treatment at the ID Hospital.
"All Infectious Disease hospitals have now been instructed not to discharge patients until they get reports of tests," Swaraj said.
She described as 'unfortunate' the situation in a Kolkata hospital where staff, including doctors, refused to report for duty due to the presence of SARS patients.
The government had obtained 300 special masks from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which were being distributed among the hospital staff of Infectious Disease hospitals in the country.
Swaraj said there was no need to panic.
"People need not wear masks while moving on the roads. Only hospital staff that are treating SARS patients need to use masks and take precautions," she said.
Maharashtra Health Minister Digvijay Khanvilkar denied charges of mismanagement saying, "The doctors and nursing staff are doing a good job. I am happy with the working of my staff."
Meanwhile, in a bid to contain the spread of SARS, nearly 180 people in Pune have been kept under observation and quarantined while four teams of doctors have been deputed to monitor the health of infected persons and their relatives.
"While 35 people were quarantined in the premises of the Sidharth Hospital, around 150 and their families are quarantined in their homes," Deputy Director of Health Services B P Gaekwad said.
Doctors would be monitoring the nine staff members, including two doctors, of the Sidharth Hospital who tested positive for SARS on Wednesday.
Their health continues to be 'good and free of symptoms'.
State Director General of Health Subhash Salunke said, "These nine persons cannot be termed as patients because they are not showing any clinical symptoms of SARS. They are infected but not diseased."
"The situation is completely under control and there is no cause for any worry. We had taken adequate precautions to see that the nine people were quarantined from the very beginning to reduce the danger of the spread of SARS," Health Officer of the Pune Municipal Corporation Dr Anil Rawethkar told PTI on Thursday.
A total of 21 samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology for testing, out of which result for 11 were declared on Wednesday, he said.
Khanvilkar had on Wednesday said, "These nine persons had treating the first SARS patient and might have contracted the infection because they did not follow the basic principles of infection control."
A total of 60 people in Pune had been quarantined, of which 11, who tested negative for SARS, were freed from the quarantine restrictions.
In a bid to contain the spread of SARS, nearly 180 people in Pune have been kept under observation and quarantined while four teams of doctors have been deputed to monitor the health of infected persons and their relatives.
"While 35 people were quarantined in the hospital premises itself, around 150 and their families are quarantined in their homes," Deputy Director of Health Services B P Gaekwad said.
The doctors would be monitoring the nine staff members, including two doctors, of the Sidharth Hospital who tested positive for SARS on Wednesday.
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