Bindu Shajan Perappadan

Swine flu patients moved from farmhouse to hospital

NEW DELHI: In a bid to cover up a major breach of safety regulations wherein two patients who tested positive for A (H1N1) swine flu this past week were allowed “home quarantine”, a team of senior government health officials camped at the duo’s Rajokri farmhouse in the Capital for well over three hours on Wednesday and finally managed to persuade them to get admitted to a public hospital.

While the two -- a 35-year-old man who had arrived from New York on June 2 and his mother, whom he had infected -- had refused to be shifted to a hospital and insisted on staying at home, the State Health Department was directed by the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday to shift the two to a hospital quarantine. Six domestic servants at the duo’s farmhouse have tested negative for the influenza virus.

“We told them that their staying away from hospital quarantine was creating a public health emergency for anyone coming into contact with them. So for their own well-being and the well-being of the public they should get proper medical treatment. We finally managed to persuade them and brought them to Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in our CATS ambulance and they have been admitted to isolation ward No. 5 for treatment,” said Dr. M. Lal, head of the Delhi Government’s Directorate of Health Services, on Wednesday evening.

“We had been repeatedly requesting the patient to come to the hospital but he and his family refused stating that his house is in an isolated area and thus it would cause no trouble to the public,” Dr. Lal added.

Meanwhile, with a 17-year-old non-resident Indian who arrived in Delhi on June 7 from the US testing positive for influenza A (H1N1) on Wednesday, the number of swine flu cases in the Capital has gone up to three. The boy and his father stayed at a guest house in the Capital till Wednesday before the former was admitted to Lohia Hospital with flu symptoms and tested positive.

The boy’s father, too, has been admitted to the hospital and kept under observation. His samples have also been despatched for testing to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

“We also have the two other persons with suspected flu symptoms. One is a 47-year-old male from France who travelled to Japan, Singapore and Hyderabad before coming to Delhi, and the other a 41-year-old woman who has arrived from New York. Samples of the suspected flu cases have been sent for testing. We are well prepared to combat any emergency and have our stock of medicines and medical health protocol to take care of the patients coming to us,” said the Medical Superintendent of Lohia Hospital, Dr. N. K. Chaturvedi.

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