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India handling swine flu better, says US expert

delhi Updated: Jul 28, 2009 00:24 IST
Rhythma Kaul

Since July 15, school children in Delhi and 17 in Pune have have tested positive for swine flu, prompting one of the seven affected schools in Delhi and five in Pune to declare a holiday.

India has reported 454 cases of swine flu but no deaths due to it till now. While several towns in over nine states have reported swine flu, infection has spread among students only in Jalandhar, Pune, Delhi and the NCR.

On Monday, the influenza A (H1N1) infection was reported in two more students — a 14-year-old from South Delhi’s Vasant Valley School and a 15-year-old from Springdales, Pusa Road.

Both schools chose not to declare a general holiday.

“We have taken necessary precautions like sanitising school premises and school buses. Only students and teachers of Class IX C — the section the infected student was in - have been asked to stay quarantined at home till July 31,” said Arun Kapoor, director, Vasant Valley School.

Delhi reported 10 more cases on Monday, taking the total number up to 144.

‘India did a good job’

India did a good job of managing swine flu .

India’s handling of swine flu got a thumbs-up from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

“Developing countries such as India have so far been able to handle the situation better. It's commendable, there’ve been no death,” said Dan Rutz, who chairs the Global Health Communication Team in the National Centre for Health Marketing at CDC.

The US has reported 43,771 cases and 302 deaths till Friday, July 24, the last date for which data is available. "Deaths were high because the outbreak caught America by surprise one fine morning and people here (in developing countries) had few weeks time to prepare," he said.

Rutz warned that the worst was yet to come.

“No one is sure how the virus is going to behave in its second phase, so best we can do is create as much awareness as possible,” said Rutz.

He dismissed demands to screen passengers before boarding.

“It would have been a lot easier to contain the spread had we screened passengers before flying, but it’s not feasible as many infected persons don't show immediate symptoms but can still infect healthy people around them,” he said.