Government convenes high-level meeting on Tuesday. Measures taken to orient private hospital doctors in diagnosis

Health officials in Tamil Nadu categorically ruled out an epidemic of Swine Flu in the State.

The announcement came after Sanjay Balakrishnan died of multi-organ failure following the flu at a private city hospital in Chennai. Three others who had contact with the boy, including his older brother and two others in the apartment complex tested positive.

Nose and throat swabs were collected from 12 people who reported with symptoms of Swine Flu at Coimbatore Medical College Hospital and three persons who were referred to the Annal Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Tiruchi, and sent for testing.

Health records from Out Patient units of hospitals, Primary Health Centres and district hospitals do not even indicate an increase in normal flu rates, officials said. By definition, there must be a manifold increase in the number of influenza cases to cause an epidemic and Tamil Nadu is nowhere near that, they added.

However, they have taken measures to orient doctors in private hospitals about the correct diagnosis and treatment protocols for A(H1N1). Adequate number of testing kits have been procured for the testing centre King Institute of Preventive Medicine, Guindy and about 25,000 doses of Tamiflu are being held in stock.

Of the total of 52 positive Swine Flu cases in the State, only 12 are being treated with Tamiflu currently. Some of them were at home in domiciliary quarantine and others in quarantine wards at government hospitals.

A high-level meeting will be convened by the State Government on Tuesday to chalk out the strategy to control the spread of the Swine Flu. Health department officials and medical professionals would be attending the meeting, said Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi here on Monday.

Addressing press persons, the Chief Minister said that the high-level meeting would also discuss setting up a top-level monitoring committee similar to the one set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the all-India level.

The Chief Minister appealed to the people, especially the media, not to create panic among the public as the Government was taking necessary steps to control the disease.

However, a number of schools in the Velachery area in Chennai shut down as news about the death spread, even as the Government advised schools not to close on account of Swine Flu.

Colleges and universities had received no intimation from the government in case of Swine Flu infection among their students. At Anna University, which started fresh classes on Monday, students were told to approach the varsitys health centre if they were sick.

Keywords: swine flua(h1n1)epidemic