The swine flu toll in the state rose to eight on Saturday after one more death in the city. A two-and-a-half-year-old baby, Anwesha Pramanik, from Joynagar in South 24-Parganas succumbed to the H1N1 virus at BC Roy Memorial Hospital for Children here. Anwesha is the third child to die of swine flu in the state this year.
Three more swine flu cases were re por ted taking the number of swine flu-affected to 115. “A baby died of swine flu in the BC Roy Memorial Hospital for Children on Saturday. Three more swine flu cases were reported in the city on the same day. Eight persons have succumbed to the H1N1 virus so far in our state. Sixty-four patients have already been discharged while 43 others are undergoing treatment at different government and private hospitals,” said state health secretary Moloy De.
The state health department is all set to allow Peerless Hospital to test throat swab samples of suspected swine flu patients in its laboratory.
“We have all the infrastructure such as real time PCR equipment required for testing the swab samples of suspected swine flu patients. We can do so following the guidelines of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) laboratory in Beliaghata. We have submitted a proposal to the health department seeking its approval to conduct swine flu confirmation tests at our laboratory,” said Dilip Samaddar, MD of Peerless Hospital.
“The experts of the health department and the NICD have already inspected the infrastructure in our lab recently. So far, we know they are satisfied with our laboratory infrastructure which conforms to the guidelines of the NICD and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. Our laboratory will provide the service as an extended unit of the NICD lab in Beliaghta till the number of swine flu cases in the state comes down,” said Dr Sinchan Bhattacharya, chief medical superintendent of Peerless Hospital.
“Before giving them (Peerless Hospital) a final clearance, the same samples of the throat swabs of suspected swine flu cases will be sent to NICD and the private hospital laboratory. The test reports brought out by the private hospital lab will be crosschecked with the NICD results. We will approve the private lab if its tests results match that of the NICD lab reports,” De said.
The Beliaghata NICD laboratory, under the Indian Council of Medical Research, is the only one across the state where the throat swabs of suspected swine flu patients are tested to find the presence of H1N1 virus. The move to allow some private pathological laboratories to conduct swine flu tests will reduce the burden on NICD. According to a senior NICD researcher several states ravaged by swine flu have already allowed some big private hospitals to conduct tests on throat swab samples of H1N1 cases in their laboratories.