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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

India’s first swine flu case

NRI from Texas arriving at Hyd may be India's first swine flu case

Hyderabad: An NRI who arrived in Hyderabad from Texas, the US state which reported the first swine flu death outside Mexico, was on Wednesday found to have flu symptoms. The authorities refused to divulge his identity, saying only that he had arrived in the city two days ago and had now been quarantined.
    Special teams of doctors who are screen
ing passengers arriving from the US and other affected countries in the last ten days have also been visiting their homes to conduct health check-ups. It was during one such check that the NRI from Texas was found to have swine flu symptoms.
    The first death in the Texan city of Brownsville, which borders Mexico, was that of a two-year-old Mexican boy who had come across the frontier. The cause of the death, which took place on Mon
day, was pneumonia brought on by the flu virus, which is spreading from human to human. So far, 91 cases have been reported in the US and 2,400 from Mexico, where more than 150 people have died of the flu. The Hyderabad case, if confirmed as swine flu, would be India's first.
    AP principal secretary (health) L V Subramanyam said the patient was brought to the Institute of Preventive Medicine for preliminary tests for respiratory problems,
cold and cough. After this, he was referred to the Government Chest Hospital, which is a quarantine centre. The patient will be kept under observation for ten days. The family members of the passenger did not appear to have any flu symptoms and have not been quarantined.
    Subramanyam said efforts were on to find out if more people had arrived in the city with such symptoms. "Health officials are looking at the records of all in
ternational passengers who landed in the last ten days and tests are being conducted on them,'' Subramanyam said.
    However, the chest hospital denied that any patient had been admitted with swine flu symptoms. "We were informed that a patient would be sent to the quarantine facility but he did not turn up,'' superintendent S V Prasad said.

Travel sector begins to feel the pinch
The travel and hospitality sectors, already reeling under the effects of the slump, could be hit further by the swine flu. The last two days have seen a 2-4% increase in cancellations of tickets for international travel. Meanwhile, India has decided to stock 3 million doses of Tamiflu and Mumbai airport has decided to screen fliers from the US. P 5 & 11 


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