Three more cases of swine flu have been reported in India, taking to 15 the number of influenza A (H1N1) cases in the country, health officials said on Thursday.
In New Delhi, a 41-year-old woman who arrived from New York June 5 has tested positive, while in Goa, a 41-year old man who arrived from London via Germany also tested positive.
Although Thursday morning Goa authorities confirmed that the 41-year-old man was suffering from influenza A (H1N1), later they denied it. But the union health ministry said one case was reported from Goa.
"A total 15 swine flu cases have been reported in the country. Of the 15, seven were reported from Hyderabad, five from Delhi, two from Coimbatore and one from Goa,” Shiv Lal, who heads the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), told IANS.
He said that in New Delhi a 25-year-old woman has been quarantined and kept in the isolation ward of the Ram Manohan Lohia (RML) Hospital.
According to N.K. Chaturvedi, the medical superintendent of RML hospital: "The woman was admitted to the hospital with flu-like symptoms June 6. Her tests reports came today (Thursday) and they showed that she has the flu.”
The second confirmed case was from Goa.
On Thursday morning Goa Health Secretary Sanjiv Srivastava said a 41-year-old man who came to the state from London via Germany on June 4 was detected with the flu.
The patient has been admitted to the isolation ward of the Chicalim Cottage Hospital, Srivastava had said. But later Srivastava did a flip flop. He said: “There is no confirmed swine flu case in Goa as yet. The National Institute of Virology has diagnosed the suspect for influenza type 1. We have send the sample to Delhi to ascertain whether it has the H1N1 strain.”
In Delhi, a 17-year-old student from Boston tested positive Wednesday, while his 61-year-old father has been quarantined in the RML hospital after he showed flu-related symptoms.
Officials said a French national is also admitted to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. "The reports of the 61-year-old man and the French national are awaited," Chaturvedi said.
Before coming to India, the French national had visited Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.
According to health ministry, five people suspected to be infected with the virus have been isolated. Three people in Delhi and one each in Bangalore and Goa are being monitored.
In Chandigarh, a 50-year-old man, who came from Thailand June 8, has been admitted to the hospital with flu like symptoms. His samples have been sent to Delhi.
What is worrying health authorities is that two human-to-human cases have come to light.
With more and more cases being reported in the country, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad wrote to External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna saying that swine flu-affected countries should be urged "to screen outbound travellers at airports".
"Otherwise we would be burdened with a large number of cases which may subsequently spread the disease in our community," Azad said in the letter Tuesday.
A health ministry official said: "We expect a substantial inflow of Indian students returning for the vacations. In this regard, the health ministry wrote to the external affairs ministry to prevail upon affected countries, especially the US, to screen passengers who are showing symptoms of the illness."
According to Shashi Khare, head of the virology department in the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD): “A total of five swine flu cases have been reported in Delhi. We are awaiting reports of two more.”
Apart from the woman and the 17-year-old boy, the others who have tested positive include a 25-year-old woman, who had come from New York. She has been quarantined at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital.
Earlier, a 35-year-old man who reached Delhi from New York June 2 had tested positive. The man went straight home from the airport and transmitted the virus to his mother. The two, who were earlier home quarantined, were shifted to the RML hospital Wednesday, said Chaturvedi.
As more cases of swine flu are being reported in the national capital, authorities have set up 10 multi-disciplinary teams to probe and confirm the outbreak of swine flu.
According to Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia, apart from the quarantine unit at the International airport, RML and Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) hospitals, ten other hospitals have been fully geared to take the patient load.
Delhi government has formed a 27-member team and they were trained by NICD officials to confirm and detect outbreak of swine flu, said Lal.
According to the World Health Organisation, 27,737 people in 74 countries have been infected with the virus so far. A total of 141 people have died since the outbreak of the disease. Most of the deaths occurred in Mexico, where the disease was first reported.