A nine-year-old became Hyderabad’s thirteenth and India’s thirty-first case of swine flu, even as samples of two more Jalandhar students, who have just returned for an education trip to NASA in the US, were collected to be sent to Delhi’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases.
Eight of the group of 31 has already tested positive.
Globally, infections have risen to 3,592 across 76 countries, with 163 deaths.
Children under 18 account for almost half of India’s 31 infections and have prompted the Union health ministry to ask scientists for a report on whether children are at a higher risk.
Apart from eight in Jalandhar, six children have tested positive in Hyderabad and one in Coimbatore.
On Monday, HT had reported that children appeared to be at a greater risk as they constituted a much smaller percentage of overseas travellers but constituted almost as many cases.
A day after Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad advised people to avoid travel to the US, Health Secretary Naresh Dayal ticked off the West in New York — a city with over 800 confirmed cases and 16 deaths — for exporting swine flu to developing countries.
“We have so far 30 cases which have been laboratory confirmed. Out of these, 28 are those who came from infected countries in the West. The developed countries would do a great service to the developing countries if they could contain and check the spread of infection in their own countries,” said Dayal, at the UN Forum on Advancing Global Health in the Face of Crisis.
Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi also asked for outbound screening for passengers saying, “The US is the main source of swine flu as far as India is concerned.”
The Union Ministry of Health’s demand for screening of outbound passengers from countries with localised — “community-level outbreaks – infections has been rejected by the World Health Organisation, which maintains that such screening is ineffective as infected people becomes infectious even before they develop symptoms such as fever and cough.