In a development that brings a respite to city residents, the four suspected swine flu cases reported on Friday have been tested negative.
The development comes a day after Sarabjit Kaur, a 55-year-old Batala road resident, was tested positive for the deadly disease. Incidentally, Sarabjit case is the first in Amritsar as well as Punjab. The four people suspected of swine flu are kin of Sarabjit.
The health department has conducted tests of their nasal and throat swabs that turned out to be negative. The department sent their teams to Batala road area on Saturday to find whether any of the residents showed the symptoms of swine flu.
Meanwhile, precautionary medication has been administered to the medical staff taking care of Sarabjit at Fortis Escorts Hospital. Sarabjit was down with cough, fever, sore throat, stuffy or running nose, body ache, headache, chills and fatigue — all symptoms of swine flu, caused by H1N1 virus. Her nasal and throat swabs had been sent for a lab test on Wednesday and she was tested positive on Thursday.
District epidemiologist Dr Raju Chauhan said the nasal and throat swabs of Sarabjit’s relatives had been sent for a lab test after they complained of symptoms akin to those of swine flu. “Their swabs have been tested negative. Meanwhile, Sarabjit is being treated for swine flu at Fortis,” said Dr Chauhan.
The epidemiologist said the patient had absolutely no history of travel or any interaction with any suspected swine flu patient, which had baffled the medical fraternity. “We are making all possible effort to ascertain the likely means through which she contracted swine flu. Meanwhile, the survey of Batala road and other areas is on to find probable cases of swine flu and offer treatment to them in time,” he said.
Dr Chauhan advised the residents to take necessary precautions to avert contracting the dreaded virus. “Avoid visiting overcrowded marketplaces or areas near slaughter house. Use a face mask when visiting such areas. Washing hands as often as possible helps keep hands germ free and reduces the risk of contracting the virus,” he said.
“Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and don’t touch nose, mouth or eyes with bare hands. Maintaining healthy lifestyle and keeping your surrounding clean will also help,” he said.