Two children studying in a Tiruvannamalai school tested positive for swine flu after they recently returned from a sports tournament in Pune, V.K. Subburaj, Principal Secretary, Health said here on Saturday. He was speaking at a conference on ‘Safe Chennai’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Chennai zone.

Addressing concerns related to the swine flu threat, he said while the situation was largely under control, the public could do well by adhering to the advisory issued by the government. “Though we had issued a travel advisory asking people to avoid visiting flu-hit places such as Pune and Satara, the school in Tiruvannamalai ignored it. Sixteen children who were part of this group are reported to have developed flu-like symptoms,” he said.

Although the disease was well under control in the State, people should avoid outstation travel as much as possible. “Chennai and Coimbatore have emerged as the focal points of swine flu because here is where a lot of people travel frequently,” he said.

However, there was no need to hit the panic button as of the 6,000 suspected swine flu cases tested at the King Institute in Guindy, so far only some 90 cases were found to be positive. Besides three government labs, nine private labs in the State have been approved for testing suspected swine flu cases, he said, adding that the state agencies were thus well-prepared to tackle the disease.

He also recommended that people avoid using the green masks as these offered little protection from the flu. “I have seen many parents forcing their children to wear the masks. This is unnecessary,” he said. He added that only if a person developed serious flu-like symptoms such as high fever, accompanied with breathing problems and diarrhoea, he/she must come to the authorised labs for testing, not otherwise.