The health department issued guidelines on Sunday to schools and colleges on the dos and don’ts for curbing H1N1 infection among students in Bhopal.
It also asked the educational institutions to send any student found with symptoms of H1N1 flu to screening centres for medical test in Bhopal. A screening centre will start functioning at the Bairagarh hospital.
On Sunday, the toll reached 11 with two more swine flu deaths in Bhopal. The patients, both women, were undergoing treatment at private hospitals. Sixty-five people have been diagnosed with the flu in the city alone.
“We have asked educational institutes to bring students with symptoms of swine flu to screening centres for diagnosis. We have also asked them not to create panic and get treated for infection properly,” chief medical and health officer (CMHO), Bhopal, Dr Veena Sinha said.
Instructions were also given that hostel boarders were kept in isolation and day scholars sent back to their homes if they show symptoms of H1N1 infection, she added.
These steps come in the wake of college students panicking about the outbreak of the viral disease at their campuses. Masks were out on the campuses of two engineering colleges where students ‘jokingly’ avoided shaking hands with their batch mates to avoid contracting the disease.
Forty-four students of Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) and Bagula Mukhi College of Technology had been sent for H1N1 test on Saturday. The students had complained of cough, fever and cold. Fortunately, none of the students were found to have tested positive for the flu.
“All the students are scared after we heard that students of architecture stream of our institute were diagnosed with symptoms of swine flu. All of us have started wearing masks inside the premises of the institute premises. Some of the students even went home after the rumor spread that some of the students have been diagnosed with swine flu,” Prateek Ranjan, a student of MANIT, said.
But the gag’order passed by the top health officials asking hospitals not to share any information with the media only caused panic on the two campuses.
Later, it was found that all the students showing symptoms of swine flu had been to Chennai recently to participate in a training programme. All of them were students of architecture course and most of them were hostellers.
The students had not taken any chance once they noticed flu-like symptoms.
Earlier this week, 28 students of School of Planning & Architecture had been sent to the screening centres. Three of them tested positive for H1N1 virus. The health department has categorized the swine flu cases into three groups – Category A, B and C. In the first category, patients don’t require Oseltamivir. They should be monitored and their medical condition reassessed by a doctor. No testing for H1N1 is required.
People in Category B may require Oseltamivir. For this category too, no tests for H1N1 is required. Patients should confine themselves at home and avoid mixing with public and high- risk members in the family.
Category C is marked by breathlessness, chest pain, drowsiness, drop in blood pressure, sputum mixed with blood, bluish discolouration of nails. Immediate hospitalisation and treatment are must for such patients.
Guidelines for institutes
Schools are advised to avoid any large gathering of students during the course of the day in the school. This would reduce the possibility of the spread of the infection.
It should be made mandatory by the school authorities that all class teachers should begin their class with active screening of each student in the class so as to detect any student who is having symptoms of flu.
Students, teachers and other employees working in schools/educational institutions are advised to stay at home if they develop flu like symptoms.
School authorities should not insist on production of medical certificate from such preventive absentees.
Students, teachers and other employees working in schools/educational institutions are advised to wash their hands frequently with soap and water.
In case there are suspected cases in the hostel, the authorised local medical authority should be called.