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Back from NASA with swine flu

india Updated: Jun 15, 2009 01:25 IST
HT Correspondents

A trip to NASA turned into a nightmare for 31 students of Jalandhar’s Guru Amar Dass Public School, when one of them — 17-year-old Karandeep Singh — tested positive for swine flu.

The students had travelled from the US to Delhi on a Qatar Airlines flight QE 231 that reached Delhi on June 13.

Since Singh had symptoms, he was stopped at the airport and quarantined in Delhi.

“Since last night, five other students in the group have reported cough and cold. The Punjab government is sending us the throat swabs of all the students and teachers who were part of the trip,” said Dr Shiv Lal, director, National Institute of Communicable Diseases, one of the two designated labs for testing for the influenza A (H1N1) virus that causes swine flu.

“The students had gone to the US on a 12-day tour to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration,” said Guru Amar Dass Public School principal Tarlochan Singh.

Singh apart, two more people — a 27-year-old woman and her 3-year-old daughter — from Bangalore tested positive on Sunday, taking the total to 20. Of these, 11 have recovered and been discharged. There have been no deaths.

Swine flu reached Bangalore when the mother and daughter arrived in the city from New Jersey on June 12.

Delhi too, quarantined two children at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. The two boys, one 13-year-old who had travelled from the UK and another 8-year-old from the US, were admitted to the hospital.

Jalandhar Civil Surgeon Dr S.S. Walia said a team of doctors had visited the houses of the 30 other students to take the samples. “The team, led by District Health Officer Dr Roop Lal and Dr T.P. Singh, has taken the samples that will be sent to New Delhi. Reports will be received in 24 hours.”

Punjab Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla said: “We have come to know that the student (from Jalandhar) admitted in New Delhi has tested positive for swine flu. We are reviewing the situation. Local health authorities have examined the rest of the students suffering from fever, cough and cold.”