Southern Railway to counter spread of H1N1 virus  

After the death of a four-year old boy in Chennai and amidst the increasing number of such incidents elsewhere in the country, the Tamil Nadu government and the Southern Railways have stepped up the preventive measures against the spread of swine flu in the state. The railway authorities met chief minister M Karunanidhi in this regard on August 11 and following the discussion between the authorities it was decided that both the state health department and railways would jointly implement preventive measures in all the railway stations and running trains, Dr Elango, the director of Public Health told Pharmabiz.The chief minister took stock of the situation with the health department officials and following it an arrangement has been made with the southern railway which ensures screening of all passengers coming from various parts of Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu. All the stations in the state have been set with special screening centres. The passengers will be screened in all the railway stations and those coming by flights will be screened in the Air Ports, the director said. The state health department has decided to allow railways to stock Tamiflu in trains.Meanwhile, the officials of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine across Tamil Nadu are taking all preventive measures to stop the spread of swine flu in the state apart from conducting awareness programs for people not getting panic, following the death of a four year old boy due to swine flu on Monday. In addition to Medical Colleges and District Hospitals, the treatments have been extended to the private hospitals also, the health director said.So far the state health officials screened a total of 376 people till Tuesday and 54 of them were found having symptoms of A H1 N1, but 40 have been discharged. Currently, 14 people who were tested positive for H1N1 are undergoing treatment at the Corporation -run Communicable Diseases Hospital at Tondiarpet in the City, said Dr Elango. For testing the blood and throat & nasal swabs taken from the patients, the directorate has recognized three laboratories in the state as testing centres for A (H1N1) flu. The three labs are King Institute of Preventive Medicine, Guindy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, and JIPMER, Pondicherry.Meanwhile the Chennai Corporation has set up 14 screening teams, comprising doctors and paramedical staff, across the 10 zones with in its jurisdiction to identify people showing symptoms of swine flu.According to sources, a team of health officials including doctors will inspect residential areas, treat people showing symptoms of the flu, mobilize them if they are suspiciously ill, and create awareness among the local community. The team will also visit the local private and government schools. In the meantime, authorities have advised the schools in the city to close down and seek medical care if they have any symptom of flu or any other disease.In Thanjavur Medical College, a special ward for treating swine flu patients was created. The facilities in the ward include alternative respiratory support as swine flu patients develop severe respiratory problems. In Trichy, three Railway Protection Force constables, who came from Madhya Pradesh, have been admitted to the A G M Government Hospital with suspected symptoms.In Coimbatore, where the first suspected case of H1N1 was found in the state last Month, 12 more suspected cases of swine flu were reported on Monday and they were sent to the Medical College Hospital there. Sources in the health department said that three of the suspected cases were from Pune, where a few people died recently of A (H1N1) influenza.


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