Isolated wards being created at district headquarters hospitals

Even as number of suspected swine flu cases were steadily increasing in Orissa, the State was faced with a peculiar problem.

For a week now the State Health Department has been receiving innumerable queries from people from Orissa staying in cities like Mumbai and Pune about availability of laboratory testing facilities for H1N1 infection. However, absence of laboratory was adding to the problem.

Sources in the State Surveillance Department said since schools were closed in metro cities, parents wanted to ensure that their children were safe. “These are purely a panic reactions from people. We are exhausting lot of energies making parents understand they need not worry,” a doctor said.

On Wednesday, parents with seven girls from Pune reached Capital Hospital here and started inquiring about testing facilities. Even as suspected cases of swine flue was increasing, district headquarter hospitals started receiving inquiries from remote areas.

According to State Surveillance Department, the State has so far received 12 suspected cases of swine flu at its different medical college hospitals. Samples were sent to National Institute of Communicable Diseases, New Delhi and National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata. However, eight cases were tested to be negative, health department sources said. Reports on rest suspected cases were being awaited.

Arun Mishra, a nodal officer on swine flu epidemic sent by Union government, visited SCB Medical College Hospital at Cuttack and Capital Hospital here on Thursday to assess preparedness and infrastructure to cope with situation in case of emergency.

Even as health and family welfare department claims to have put in place necessary mechanism to deal with swine flu scare, doctors treating patients have raised their doubts. Doctors are yet to be provided with mask although there were chances of swine flu cases surfacing in the State. Even doctors deployed at Biju Patnaik Airport did not have protective apparatus, pointed out a doctor.

Sources said at district headquarters hospitals isolated wards were being created, a medical officers were also getting regular orientation about the dreaded disease.