At least 17 school students from St Peter’s school in Panchgani, near Mahabaleshwar, have tested positive for swine flu, while seven other cases — all students — were reported in Pune on Monday.
The students affected were among a group that visited the NASA in the US as part of a study tour in April. After returning, 34 students displayed symptoms of swine flu, and had their blood samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), which on Monday confirmed that 17 students had the disease.
School superintendent Sunil Bobade said: “Those who tested positive have already recovered, but we have kept them under observation in the school’s highly-equipped hospital.”
Legendary British singer Freddie Mercury and Nationalist Congress Party MP Udayanraje Bhonsle are among the school’s alumni.
“The administration is taking utmost precaution as Panchgani is not only an international tourist centre but also has a number of residential schools,” said Satara zilla parishad chief health officer Dr Vijaysinh Mohite.
“As students who tested positive have recovered, we have decided not to shut down St Peter’s.”
More students in Pune, where five schools have closed for a week, tested positive. “The seven fresh cases are five students from Symbiosis and one each from Abhinav English and New India,” said Pradeep Awate, head of the state’s swine flu cell.
Pune’s total swine flu cases stands at 56; the state has seen 90 cases so far. The city’s Additional Commissioner M. Devnikar said the situation is under control.