Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy on Sunday requested the Centre to arrange Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to the air passengers in all the flights particularly to those who show symptoms, in order to contain spread of swine flu to other passengers. He sent a letter to this effect to Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel after reviewing the situation with state health officials.
A team of officials from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), which inspected the facilities to tackle swine flu in the state, announced that a fully equipped swine flu surveillance center would be set up at Hyderabad soon to screen all suspected cases. Hyderabad has reported the largest number of influenza A (H1N1) cases, that is six out of eight cases in the country.
The team went around all the facilities including AP Chest hospital, the nodal center for treatment of swine flu cases. They had a meeting with state health minister Sudarshan Reddy.
The visiting team also recommended the setting up an advanced path lab to test the blood and swab samples swine flu suspects. Till now such a facility is not available at Hyderabad and samples are couriered to Delhi for tests, which takes two to three days.
"The NICD will also help us by imparting training to our medical personnel with regard to handling of the flu cases," Sudarshan Reddy told HT.
He said that there was absolutely no threat to local population even though one case of human-to-human transmission has been detected. "We are strengthening the screening of all passengers arriving at Hyderabad airport," he said and added that people should report any suspected cases to the authorities promptly.
Five more passengers who traveled on the British Airways flight on May 31, in which the infected techie was traveling, have contacted the authorities. They told the officials that they have none of the flu symptoms and would report back to chest hospital soon.
Meanwhile, chest hospital sources said that they were awaiting the NICD report about the four people referred to the hospital on suspicion. "We will take suitable action after receiving the reports," said a doctor.