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Swine flu scare: Don’t travel to the US: Azad

delhi Updated: Jun 16, 2009 01:26 IST
Sanchita Sharma
Sanchita Sharma
Hindustan Times
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Seven more students from Jalandhar, back from a school trip to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States, tested positive for swine flu on Monday.

Eight of 31 students from Guru Amar Dass Public School have now been diagnosed with swine flu. Karandeep Singh, 17, was the first to have tested positive on Sunday.

Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad reiterated the World Health Organization’s advice on deferring non-essential travel abroad. “Till this disease is not controlled globally, I would like to request young people from educational institutions to suspend their visits for two to three months.”

A woman, 45, and two sisters, aged eight and four, had tested positive in Hyderabad on Sunday. With this the number of infections in India has risen to 30. Globally, swine flu has infected 29, 699 people in 74 countries, killing 145.

A health ministry delegation is currently in New York – one of the cluster hubs of swine flu infection -- to attend a UN meet.

Of the 30 people confirmed with swine flu, 11 have recovered and gone home. There have been no deaths. “This disease is 100 per cent curable,” said Azad.

The Director General of Health Services has sent a rapid response team to Punjab with the anti-viral medicine oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and an isolation ward has been created at the Government Hospital in Jalandhar.

Of India’s 30 cases, 13 are under 18 years. “Infection trends differ from country to country and with only 30 infections in India, it is too early to make age-predictions on whether children and young adults are at higher risk. We have to monitor infection and see how it plays out in the Indian population,” said Dr V. M. Katoch, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).