With the highest number of confirmed swine flu cases getting registered in Hyderabad, the Andhra Pradesh government has sounded a health alert across the state and directed the authorities to further intensify the screenings of all the inbound passengers at the Hyderabad International Airport.
The total cases of the H1N1 virus have gone up to six as four more cases were confirmed over the weekend. Three of them were the passengers of a British Airway flight from the USA to Hyderabad and another person contracted the virus from his brother, who had returned from the US.
K Subhakar, the coordinator of the Swine Flu Nodal Center at the Government Chest Hospital in Hyderabad said that the first case of swine flu case, confirmed on May 16 has been discharged from the hospital."At present five cases are being treated at the isolation ward," he said.
The authorities said that a 28 year old software engineer returned to Hyderabad from Philadelphia on BA flight on May 31 was struck by swine flu. A 31-year-old woman from Karimnagar and her five year old daughter, traveling on the same flight and seated two rows behind the engineer were also affected by the virus and tested positive.
On reaching home, engineer spread the virus to his 26-year-old brother, making it the first of its kind of human to human spread in the country.
Taking the increase in the number of cases, the central government has rushed a team of experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to Hyderabad on Sunday. After meeting the team, the state health education minister Sudarshan Reddy told the reporters that the NICD will set up a cell in Hyderabad for effectively monitoring and better coordination with the state government. The team visited the isolation ward and assessed the arrangements made by the state government.
The Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy discussed the situation with the senior officials of medical and health department and directed the authorities to maintain high vigil and assess the situation on hourly basis.
The Chief Minister has urged the central government, specially the Civil Aviation Ministry to arrange Personal Protection Equipment to the air passengers in all the flights particularly to those who show symptoms, in order to contain spread of Swine Flu to other passengers.
The state health department was also screening and monitoring all the other people who traveled by the BA 277 flight on May 31. Three such passengers were screened in Vijaywada and were found to be safe.
The Chief Minister said that all precautionary measures were taken up and the administration is fully geared up to prevent any sort of spread of the viral flu. According to an official press note, strict instructions have been given already at the airports as well as sea port checking centres in the state that every passenger arriving should be thoroughly checked and examined.