Four more private laboratories in Tamil Nadu will be recognised by the State Health department to test for the A(H1N1) virus.

This includes two labs in Chennai- Lister Metropolis and Sri Ramachandra University. Immuno Ancilliary Clinic, Coimbatore, and Vivek Labs, Nagercoil have also been identified to share the burden of the government testing facility. This takes the total number of labs in Tamil Nadu in the private sector authorised by the government to test for influenza A (H1N1) to nine.

Five other labs have already been recognised by the government – three in Chennai and one each in Coimbatore and Tiruchi. The labs in Chennai are Bharat Scans, Royapettah; Hi-Tech Diagnostic Center, T.Nagar; Diagnostic Services, T.Nagar. Micro Labs in R.S.Puram, Coimbatore and Dr. Rath’s Lab, in Thillai Nagar, Tiruchi are the other two.

Testing protocol

The State is following the protocols being set by the Central government. Patients testing positive for influenza A(H1N1) virus can be split into three categories for testing and treatment, according to the Centre’s recommendations.

The first category comprises people who have common fever along with cough and throat pain. They might or might not have body and head ache, diarrhoea and vomiting. They do not need to be tested for A(H1N1) and need not be given Tamiflu, but need to be under constant supervision for a couple of days. They have also been advised to take rest at home and curtail their interaction with others and travel. Using a handkerchief while coughing and sneezing is essential.

The second category consists of people who have high fever and severe throat infection. Children under 5 years, pregnant women, senior citizens above 65 years of age and those with complications of the kidneys, heart and lungs, diabetics and people who have HIV/AIDS are vulnerable if they show the symptoms. They require Tamiflu, but the laboratory test for A(H1N1) can be dispensed with. Domestic quarantine is recommended.

In the third category will fall people in the second and third category who exhibit breathlessness, chestpain, fainting spells, low blood pressure, blood in the phlegm, bluing nails and lack of appetite. They need to be tested for the virus and put on a course of Tamiflu.

The advisory also cautions against taking Tamiflu without consulting a physician.

An addition of nine cases were tested positive in the State for A(H1N1) virus, bringing up the total number of positive cases to 120. Six persons were admitted to the Communicable Diseases Hospital in Tondiarpet.

Special Correspondent adds from Madurai

Test results conducted on samples of two persons, belonging to Sivaganga district, suspected to be having swine flu have confirmed positive.

Twenty-three-year old Saravanan of Karaikudi and another lady doctor from Tiruppattur in Sivaganga district have tested positive for A(H1N1) influenza on Tuesday.

According to Health Department sources, the officials are on the look out for the two persons and they would be quarantined at the isolation ward of Government Rajaji Hospital here at the earliest.

The Dean in-charge of Government Rajaji Hospital, S. M. Sivakumar, said that the lady doctor from Tirupapttur had given the throat swab samples at Coimbatore and the results confirmed positive on Tuesday. "She had returned from abroad and presently she is at Tiruppattur. The doctor will be treated with Tamilflu tablets and further action will be taken as per swine flu treatment guidelines," Dr. Sivakumar said.

Patient absconding

A senior public health official said that Mr. Saravanan, who was admitted to the Communicable Diseases Hospital at Tondiarpet in Chennai with swine flu symptoms, had escaped from there and returned to Karaikudi even as the test results were yet to come.

"The result is now positive and he will be traced by the health department officials. He will be brought to the GRH in Madurai and we are enforcing the legal provisions under the Public Health Act of Tamil Nadu. District administration is empowered to catch hold of persons who are endangering public health," S. Elango, Director of Public Health, said when contacted.

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