With Pune girl Reeda Sheikh succumbing to the swine flu, the Karnataka
government has instructed over 85,000 schools across the state to be on the alert to prevent its spread since school students seem to be highly susceptible.
"A circular on the do's and don'ts was sent out to all schools on Wednesday," a spokesperson for Primary and Higher Education Minister Vishwanath Hegde Kageri told IANS.
The government move came as several leading schools even in Bangalore, which has over 7,000 primary and high schools, told IANS that they were not aware of the nature of H1N1 and had no clue about the steps to be taken to avert the spread of the virus.
However, the schools authorities have instructed the children to maintain personal hygiene.
The main grouse of the school authorities was that they were yet to receive any communication from the health department on the measures to be adopted to check swine flu.
"Actually we are not sure of the nature of the virus and precaution to be taken to stop its spread in the campuses. Unless we get expert advise, we are not equipped to take proper steps," Sister Sugayna Mary, principal of St Joseph's Girls School in Bangalore, told IANS.
Some international schools in Bangalore, which are yet to open due to summer vacation, have started taking step to educate the parents about the flu.
Children in the age group of 10 and 14 years seem more vulnerable to the virus as nearly 48 per cent (245) of swine flu cases reported in India are children.
Out of 574 swine flu cases in India, Bangalore has registered 49 cases.
Experts say it is difficult to differentiate between swine flu and common flu symptoms.
"So anybody having flu like symptoms should immediately check with a doctor. A thorough check up of the patients needs to be done. Those having any respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis should also see the doctor," Shashidhar Buggi, director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), told IANS.
The Bangalore-based RGICD has been identified as one of the isolation centre for suspected swine flu cases.
When it comes to children, Buggi said that if a school-going child develops any swine flu like symptoms, including fever and coughing, the child should be immediately checked.
"If the child is found positive, then the entire class, where the child studies should be checked," he suggested.