By giving in to panic and rushing to hospitals, as hundreds did in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai on Saturday, you are only adding to your chances of getting swine flu. “Everyone down with seasonal flu wants to be tested for swine flu,” said Vineet Chawdhry, joint secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“From 30 samples a day just a week ago, Delhi labs got over 200 on Saturday.”
“The National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune has increased capacity to over 400 tests on Saturday as samples from Pune and the rest of Maharashtra shot up from 70-80 a day until Thursday to over 300 on Saturday,” said Dr A.C. Mishra, director, NIV, Pune.
Swine flu samples collected on Saturday went up by 400 per cent in Maharashtra and Delhi, forcing the designated labs to enhance testing capacity by 50 per cent.
At Delhi’s NCDC which has a capacity to do 100 tests a day, the number of samples shot up from 50 on Thursday to over 200 until Saturday evening.
With test samples piling up, results have been delayed by up to 36 hours.
Without the hold-up, testing for influenza A H1N1 — the scientific nomenclature for swine flu — is done within six hours.
Still, Pune’s NIV gets the bulk of cases.
“Because of Pune and Mumbai, we test more samples at NIV than the rest of the country put together,” said Mishra.
“You and your child have higher chances of getting infected while waiting to get tested at a hospital,” said Dr Subhash Arya, head of paediatics and adolescent medicine, Delhi’s BLK Memorial Hospital.