A two-member central team assessed Bihar's preparedness to tackle swine flu and suggested an awareness campaign and mass contact drive to eudcate the people about the HINI virus.
The team comprising union health and family ministry's joint director R S Gupta and deputy assistant director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi, D M Thorar met principal health secretary C K Mishra and other top state officials in Patna.
They also met the state health society's executive director Ravi Parmar Manubhai during their two-day visit which concluded yesterday evening, official sources said.
The panel suggested necessary training for the rapid response team functioning in the districts as also the need to sensitise doctors about the management protocol, swab collection method in the light of the swine flue scare in the country.
Meanwhile, state Health Minister Nandkishore Yadav asked the Centre to set up a virology laboratory in Bihar.
"It is the need of the hour to have a virology laboratory in Bihar as the state has to send samples for test either to the National Institute of Virology in Pune or the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, New Delhi," Yadav said. Yadav said though there was no confirmation of any swine flu case in Bihar as yet, the state government had sounded a swine flu alert in the state, particularly in towns along the Indo-Nepal international border.
"A swine flu alert has been sounded in Bihar, especially in border towns of Raxaul and Jogbani, besides Gaya," the minister said.
The pilgrim town of Gaya has a number of international flights and special arrangements have been made for flu tests there.
All medical college hospitals and district hospitals in the state have been asked to reserve 10 and 15 beds respectively for suspected cases, the minister said.
Official sources said another team of the union health and family welfare ministry would be arriving here tomorrow in the wake of the swine flu alert.