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Sunday, April 26, 2009

India Govt on alert for swine flu outbreak

New Delhi: India on Sunday went on an alert after a swine flu outbreak that has killed 81 in Mexico and sickened more than 1,300 others appeared to be spreading to countries like the US and New Zealand.
    The health ministry has called an emergency preparedness meeting of experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and the Indian Council of Medical Research on Monday morning to chalk out preliminary containment measures if the virus spreads in Asian countries.
    Informally,checks at airports have been stepped up in India. Health officials told TOI that they were in touch with airlines flying into India from Mexico.
Govt to act on flu after WHO instruction
New Delhi: Indian officials are keeping a close watch for passengers suffering or showing any sort of flu symptoms at the airports in the country as the Centre on Sunday issued an alert on swine flu.
    "In case any passenger shows symptoms, we already have a quarantine centre at the international airport. We also have Delhi government's infectious disease hospital. During SARS, we had created isolation facilities in Safdarjung hospital and RML. We will take action only after WHO instructs us. At present, they've designated the outbreak as Phase III animal to human transmission. They've declared the outbreak a public health concern and a disease that merits international health regulations. Countries will have to report in case a case of infection is reported within its borders," an official told TOI. "We are in touch with CDC Atlanta who have only issued a travel advisory against visiting Mexico right now. WHO will inform us what other nations are doing as part of containment measures. We already have a contingency plan."
    Human to human transmission of the virus is designated by WHO as a phase IV state.
    Officials around the world on Sunday raced to contain the outbreak as potential new cases were reported from New Zealand, Hong Kong and Spain, raising concerns about the potential for a global pandemic. China and Russia have set up quarantines for anyone possibly infected.
    The US has reported seven confirmed human cases of Swine Influenza A/H1N1 (five in California and two in Texas) and nine suspect cases. All confirmed cases had mild influenza-like illness (ILI). No deaths were reported.


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