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Special group to tackle SARS

April 24, 2003 22:58 IST

And as the Centre boost efforts to tackle the SARS threat, the suspected SARS case from Jaipur has tested negative after results of his tests were received from the NICD, Director General Health Services Dr S P Agarwal said. He added that no fresh case of suspected SARS has been reported.

The JWG will be composed of Union health secretary, Director General of Health Services, Director General of Indian Council for Medical Research, Director of National Institute of Communicable Diseases and joint secretaries of civilian aviation and ports. The JWG will meet 'as and when required', an official spokesman said.

Swaraj announced this after chairing a meeting of the health secretaries of all the states and union territories held in New Delhi. "We shared information available, discussed technical issues related to SARS, looked at the preparedness of the states for tackling it, their difficulties and took the suggestions from the state representatives to strengthen the arrangements," the health minister said. She added that the states are geared up and taking SARS with the seriousness it deserves.

The workers at the airports will use three-layered mask, airport paramedical staff will use, 871 European Union specification masks, doctors screening patients at the airports will use N-95 specification masks recommended by WHO. The doctors treating SARS suspects or patients will use the Defence Research Development Organisation made Nuclear-Biological-Chemical weapon masks. "We are getting 300 NBC masks from DRDO and will distribute them to all states," Swaraj said.

The minister further revealed that the passengers on India-bound flights would be served SARS related enquiry forms onboard and told that they will have to undergo medical screening for SARS at the airports. "The medical infrastructure at the airports has to be strengthened. Whenever airports need more doctors, the states and centre will provide. Each and every passenger must be screened. We want to make SARS infected persons do not travel to India and if they do they do not spread it," Swaraj added.

The health ministry has also briefed the state health authorities on clinical management, discharge of patients, collection and transportation of samples to labs. Regarding suspected SARS patients being treated in isolation, the health minister said, "If a suspected SARS case is being treated in isolation then his samples must be sent to the NIV or NICD for tests and till the tests confirm the suspect negative, he has to kept under isolation. If the tests are positive but he has no clinical symptoms, then a chest X-ray should be taken two day later and if it is clear, the patient can be discharged but kept under home quarantine for 10 days."

The states have also being directed to appoint nodal medical officer to produce daily updates on the situation. The minister had also chaired an inter-ministerial meeting with officials of civil aviation, tourism, home and shipping.

And as the Centre boosts efforts to tackle the SARS threat, the suspected SARS case from Jaipur has tested negative after results of his tests were received from the NICD, Director General Health Services Dr S P Agarwal said. He added that no fresh case of suspected SARS has been reported.

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