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First swine flu case reported in Odisha, state govt in for reality check

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 12:

With the first swine flu, H1N1 virus, patient detected in Odisha, the state government has swung into action to check the preparedness of this highly contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza virus.

swine flu virus
A high level meeting chaired by Health secretary Arti Ahuja here on Saturday decided that Chief District Medical Officers (CDMOs) would be briefed about swine flu readiness through video-conferencing today while private medical colleges and hospitals would also be cautioned.

This came after a 65-year-old man from Balipatna area on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar was tested positive for H1N1 virus on Saturday. The man, who was admitted to the hospital on January 6, with respiratory problem, is now undergoing treatment in isolation ward of a city-based private hospital after the diagnosis.

Director of Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) SK Kar on Sunday said a sample of the patient, who was admitted to a private hospital here, was tested positive for swine flu.

“We have asked all the district medical officers and medical colleges to take precautionary measures to counter the seasonal disease. Even though it would not be an outbreak-like situation, we have directed them to be alert,” said director, Public Health, Kailash Das.

He, however, urged people not to panic as it would not be an epidemic like previous years.

The man had gone to Uttar Pradesh and then to Delhi before returning to Odisha on January 6. Since Delhi and Gurgaon are affected by the H1N1 outbreak, the man is believed to have contracted the virus from a carrier.

Meanwhile, the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, state’s premier referral hospital, seems not prepared to tackle the virus-afflicted patients as its swine flu ward is yet to be opened.

As per reports, the isolation ward at SCBMCH to quarantine the H1N1 patients has not been prepared as it is under construction.

Moreover, the team of specialised doctors to treat the disease has not been constituted.

At a time when jaundice outbreak has taken alarming proportions in the state with number of jaundice-affected persons increasing with time, the H1N1 outbreak would pose challenges to the state government.

As per official data, the disease claimed 32 lives in 2010 and in the next year number of death due to flu was nil. However, there were sporadic cases reported in 2012 while no positive cases were reported in 2013.

It may be mentioned that patients with symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhoea, should be careful and stay away from infected persons.

As advised by the doctors, one needs to cover his nose and mouth with a handkerchief or tissue paper while coughing or sneezing and dispose the used one after a single use, and wash hands with soap or handwash regularly especially after sneezing or coughing.