With 161 swine flu cases reported in the city till Thursday, Mumbaiites have hit the panic button.
They may not have any symptoms of the dreaded flu, such as a runny nose or cough, but they are still thronging screening centres for a free test — just to be sure.
This was evident from a straw poll conducted by Hindustan Times on Thursday.
After interviewing 40 people who were waiting in serpentine queues for swine flu screening at three designated hospitals, Hindustan Times found that every fourth person did not have any of the symptoms.
Moreover, a majority of those with symptoms had not first consulted either their family physician or a general practitioner before coming to the hospital.
While a few people said they came for the testing because they were scared, others said the free test would put their minds at ease.
“I had some work in this area and the test is free. So, I thought I might as well get tested,” said Saini Harjeet Singh (32), a resident of Saki Naka, who had mild cold and cough. After he was screened at Ghatkopar’s Rajawadi Hospital, the doctors there gave him medicines.
“Someone told me about swine flu testing being conducted here. I’m just getting it done to be safe,” said Mazgaon resident Yogesh Pawar (29) who was standing in the queue at MT Agarwal Hospital in Mulund. Pawar had no symptoms of the flu.
Though most people knew about the low mortality rate due to the flu, they insisted on being tested because of the widespread panic. “I didn’t go to a doctor as I have heard that this virus spreads very fast,” said Pallavi Shetty (29), a Chembur resident who was waiting at Rajawadi Hospital.
“I think swine flu is dangerous and can be fatal. I don’t want to be a victim,” said Monesh Lodiya (24), Mulund resident.