Tamil Nadu government has once again advised the public to approach government hospitals to undergo screening for influenza A (H1N1). Government also plans to include private laboratories for screening purposes.

Two ambulances will be stationed at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine, Guindy, from Monday in order to take persons who test positive for A (H1N1) to the Communicable Diseases Hospital, Tondiarpet.

Principal Secretary, Health, V.K.Subburaj, said in a press release that a number of people go directly to King Institute to do an A(H1N1) test, though the health department had directed them to go to government hospitals. If the public went to government hospitals, doctors would do a regular check and send samples for testing if necessary. The two ambulances would ferry patients from Guindy to Tondiarpet if their tests turn out positive.

So far, a total of 106 patients have tested positive for A(H1N1) influenza out of 4511 symptomatic persons whose throat and nose swabs were drawn.

Of this, 55 persons have returned home after being treated and cured. The remaining 51 persons are being treated with Tamiflu either in hospital or domestic quarantine.

Private labs to be roped in

The government will inspect four private laboratories, two in Chennai and one each in Coimbatore and Pollachi, on Tuesday.

If the facilities meet the standards required by the Director General of Health Services protocol, they will be authorised to conduct tests for A(H1N1).

So far, a total of five laboratories in the private sector have been authorised. These include three in Chennai, one each in Coimbatore and Tiruchi.

Public Health department officials will continue to monitor and supervise the quality process of these labs, its director S.Elango said.

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