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Back to school after swine flu break

Divya Pritmani was a celebrity in school on Thursday. The 10-year-old — first swine flu positive student from the city — was bombarded with questions about her experience with the virus and a state hospital bed.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2009 01:23 IST
Kiran Wadhwa & Neha Bhayana

Divya Pritmani was a celebrity in school on Thursday. The 10-year-old — first swine flu positive student from the city — was bombarded with questions about her experience with the virus and a state hospital bed.

She, along with all the school students in the city, went to school after two weeks after the state decided to shut the schools amid swine flu scare. Her two sisters too had tested positive soon after her. “All the kids were excited to get back to school. They were glad to meet their friends,” said Jaya Pritmani, their mother.

Students across the city shared Divya’s sentiment, flocked in large numbers to their schools. “At the stroke of 8 am, several students started lining up at the gate,” said Father Francis Swamy, principal, Holy Family School, Andheri. “More students would wear masks earlier, today there were hardly any with masks.”

While parents were confident in sending their wards to school, teachers were vigilant and had doctors standing-by to
screen students in case of symptoms. “We sent back quite a few home because they had a temperature. We had our own doctors as well as doctors from hospitals coming in,” said M.R Shiple, vice-principal, Apeejay School in Nerul, where a child had tested positive.

“Our website is updated on all swine flu precautions, but it will be good for students to hear first hand experiences,” said Kishore Pillai, principal of RIMS International, where Divya studies.

In Nagpur, the administration has started training for teachers on precautions needed about spread of swine flu. “We made it compulsory for all teachers to attend the training session” said District Collector Pravin Darade.

Meanwhile, Mumbai and Pune each registered a death on Thursday. Ghatkopar-based flower seller Dattatray Gawde (35) died at Kasturba on Thursday pushing the city’s H1N1 count to four.

He was transferred from Satyam Hospital in Ghatkopar to Kasturba on Tuesday, but had already developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (breathing failure) by then. “We put him on a ventilator and started Tamiflu before even taking his throat swab,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar. She added that Gawde’s high sugar level – he was diabetic — could have led to his rapid deterioration.

BMC’s Executive Health Officer Dr Jairaj Thanekar said Gawde had “wasted four-five days” in seeking treatment. His family physician Dr U. Soni, said he had referred Gawde to Rajawadi Hospital for swine flu screening on Saturday because he had persistent fever and cough but the doctors did not consider him a swine flu suspect. “They did not take his throat swab or give him Tamiflu,” he said.

The 27-year-old swine flu patient who delivered a stillborn child at Kasturba Hospital on Monday continued to be critical. Dipti Pawar (27) died at Sassoon hospital in Pune, taking city’s count to 16.

(Inputs: Pradip Kumar Maitra)