Swine flu alert in 12 districts

As Delhi's swine flu cases crossed the 400 mark, with nine deaths, the Uttar Pradesh Health Department has sounded an alert in districts bordering the National Capital Region (NCR) to be fully prepared for fighting the disease.

The instructions, along with the swine flu protection kits, have been sent to 12 districts in the Agra and Meerut divisions, said a senior health official dealing with communicable diseases.

The districts include Gautam Buddha Nagar, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Panchsheel Nagar, Bulandshahar, Baghpat, Agra, Mathura, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Allahabad and Varanasi. The official said that the state had sufficient stock of medicines and masks as well as other disposable items required for dealing with swine flu patients.

The state has not reported any serious case of swine flu so far. A few sporadic cases in Meerut division, which tested positive in private laboratories, have been sent to the laboratory of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for confirmation. The state government will only accept cases which test positive for H1N1 virus in the labs of NDCD at Delhi, King George Medical University (KGMU) and Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science (SGPGI), both at Lucknow, and Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV), which has a branch in Gorakhpur, said the official.

SGPGI is not conducting swine flu tests as of now because of unavailability of the testing kit, said Dr T N Dhole, head of Microbiology Department at the institute. "I have asked for kits for 200 tests from the Centre, which will come soon," he said.

KGMU, which is conducting regular swine flu tests, reported four sporadic cases in the beginning of January, after which no more cases tested positive for H1N1 virus.

Ruling out chances of swine flu epidemic in the state, Dr Amita Jain, professor, Department of Microbiology at KGMU said that even the four positive cases were not severe.

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