Swine flu has infected 11 people in India since the first case was confirmed in Hyderabad on May 16, when a 23-year-old information-technology student tested positive for the influenza A H1N1 virus.
Since then, seven people in Hyderabad, two in Delhi and two in Coimbatore have tested positive.
“The government is doing all it can to deal with the situation. It is very important for a country with India’s population to take all the necessary steps to control the fallout. Secondary transmission has started and I appeal to all citizens to stay alert and cooperate with the government in testing and containing this new infection,” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said after an hour-long review meeting on swine flu with senior bureaucrats and scientists.
Local transmission took place in Delhi when the 35-year-old man on the New York-Delhi AI 102 reaching Delhi on June 2 infected his sixty-year-old mother.
She tested positive on Monday.
“Both the mother and son are quarantined at their home in Rajokri in Delhi and throat swabs from all, including the domestic helps have been collected. They have also been given oseltamivir to protect them against infection,” said Dr Shiv Lal, director general of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, one of the two designated labs for testing for the H1N1 virus.
The second local transmission happened in Hyderabad, when a 26-year-old with no history of foreign travel got infected from his brother, who had arrived in India on May 31. Both are quarantined.
“In the Coimbatore case, the woman landed at Chennai airport with no fever but developed high fever that very day at Coimbatore airport,” Dr Shiv Lal, director general of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, one of the two designated labs for testing for the H1N1 virus, told Hindustan Times.
“This can cause cluster outbreaks, as it did in the US,” he said.
The health minister announced that 16 more laboratories would be equipped to test for influenza A H1N1, taking the number of labs to 18. Currently, only two labs — NICD in Delhi and National institute of Virology in Pune — are doing the testing.