The City Health Department of the Coimbatore Corporation began on Monday a 100 per cent screening of students in private schools in the city to check for A (H1N1) influenza cases. Two schools were covered on the first day of the drive. This followed a decision of the Government to carry out the screening in Coimbatore after a spurt in the cases of students testing positive for the flu over the last 15 to 20 days.

Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj announced after a review meeting here on Friday that all the students of the private schools in the city would be screened.

Doctors and urban health nurses of a Corporation health centre screened students of a private school at Ganapathy, Joint Director of Health M. Duraikannan said. School authorities said the screening was done for 700 students to check whether they had any of the symptoms of the influenza. Another health team from the Corporation screened over 500 students of a school near Ramanathapuram.

Public Health authorities explained that frequently travelling adults, especially by flights, contracted the virus. Before the problem was detected in them, they passed it on to the children at home. From here it spread in the schools.

Apart from the screening, doctors and health officials were educating parents and teachers on the importance of early detection and treatment and the need for absolute quarantine or isolation of the infected persons.

During the discussions with health officials, the Health Secretary had said there was no need to close the schools.

On the other hand, the detection of cases would be effective if the schools functioned and enabled screening of all the students. Legislators belonging to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam submitted on Monday a memorandum addressed to District Collector P. Umanath, calling for measures to control the spread of the flu.

Adequate number of doctors, medicines and effective screening were needed as there was panic among the people over the rise in the number of cases.

The Department of Local Administration and the Department of Health should co-ordinate on flu control measures, the memorandum said.

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