Swine flu cases cross 100-mark, Health dept calls review meeting


The Health department has called a meeting to review the measures in place to counter the steadily increasing cases of swine flu. The meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday.

Health Minister Dr A K Walia said epidemiologists from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), representatives of laboratories authorised to conduct the tests and nodal officers designated for swine flu from hospitals will attend the meeting.

On Monday, number of H1N1 cases in city crossed the 100 mark.

Sources confirmed that the Health department was considering purchasing preventive vaccines for high-risk patients and starting prophylactic treatment for doctors and nurses managing swine flu patients. A final decision on this will be taken in the meeting.

"This year, so far, we have not purchased any new vaccines for H1N1 or authorised prophylactic treatment of our hospital staff. In 2009 and 2010, we had to take both of the preventive measures. Now that the cases are rising this year, we are considering repeating these efforts," an official from the Health department said.

Pregnant women, children, the elderly and those diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are considered to be in the high-risk category, doctors said. People with a history of respiratory diseases are also understood to be at risk of the viral disease.

Dr Walia said: "We have called scientists from NCDC to dwell on the epidemiological reasons for the continued presence of the virus and how long it is expected to last. We will take a final call on purchasing vaccines and review the treatment facilities."

Last week, the government had issued an advisory to hospitals, instructing them to open their isolation wards and ensure availability of adequate ventilators. The dedicated isolation wards and special ICU facilities had been closed, considering the lull in cases over the past two years.

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