Six suspected cases of influenza A H1N1(swine flu) have been reported in the state in last couple of days. However, two of them turned out negative.
The health authorities had sent the samples of six persons to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi, for tests. Three samples each from the Jammu and the Kashmir regions were sent to the institute. The reports of two of them turned out negative. Samples of three persons sent from Jammu included, a two-year-old girl child.
The patients are dependent on New Delhi lab for tests in the absence of any such facility in the state.
In 2009, when swine flu made inroads in J&K, the then health minister Sham Lal Sharma raised the issue of opening of a laboratory with the central government.
Out of 43 laboratories proposed for the entire country, two were sanctioned for the state - one in Jammu and other in Valley. The Jammu lab was to be opened in microbiology department of Government Medical College Hospital, Jammu, while Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) was to house lab for Valley. However, nothing happened.
Now with the fresh cases of suspected swine flu, the samples are being sent to Delhi, which take on an average 3-4 days for the report to come. This period keeps the patients in panic.
The director health services, Jammu, Dr Baljeet Pathnia, said, "We have made arrangements for the swine flu patients in the Colonel Chopra Nursing Home in GMCH. An isolation ward has been created, equipped with ventilator, masks and other equipment. We have also purchased necessary medicines to overcome the viral infection."