Transmission of swine flu in Delhi and Hyderabad has prompted Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to ask chief ministers to be better prepared for localised outbreaks.
“It is of utmost importance that you may please review the situation for preparedness at your level,” said Azad in a letter to all CMs on Tuesday.
“In my view, the surveillance capacity needs to be enhanced to pick up clusters of cases quicker and manage them in isolation facilities.”
The two localised infections in Delhi and Hyderabad have been contained.
Results that came in on Tuesday showed no one else who came in contact with the infected passengers tested positive for H1N1.
H1N1 is the virus that jumped from pigs to people and infected 25,2888 people since it was first detected in humans in Mexico and the US in April.
Azad’s letter points out that while nine of India’s 11 swine flu cases are imported from the US, two human-to-human transmissions have taken place in people who have not travelled abroad.
“State machinery needs to be geared for quick identification, testing, isolation and treatment of swine flu cases,” he wrote.
Since the first case was confirmed in Hyderabad on May 16, 197 people have been tested, of whom 11—seven in Hyderabad, two in Delhi and two in Coimbatore —have been found infected.
“Since yesterday, no one has tested positive. Samples of five persons are under process,” said Dr Shiv Lal, director general, National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).
The Union Health Ministry, the letter said, will support training doctors and testing and treatment facilities.
Azad had announced on Monday that the Centre would equip 16 more laboratories to test for influenza A H1N1, the virus that causes swine flu, taking the number of labs to 18.
Currently, tests are done only in two labs, Delhi’s NICD and Pune’s National Institute of Virology.
The Centre has already sent 2,000 capsules of oseltamivir, the anti-flu medicine used to treat swine flu, to all states. It has another 10 lakh capsules in stock, ready for despatch.