Passengers of British Airways flight in Hyderabad screened for suspected swine flu

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Hyderabad, June 9 (ANI): Health officials of Andhra Pradesh have appointed a team of medical experts to screen all the passengers of British Airways flight (BA 277) of suspected swine flu after the aircraft landed in Hyderabad.

Out of the nine cases of swine flu reported in India, seven have been from Hyderabad and Secunderabad while the other two cases are from Coimbatore.

Reportedly, out of seven cases reported from Andhra, four persons who tested positive of the deadly flu, returned to Hyderabad from United States via British Airway Flight (BA 277) on May 31.

Earlier, a team of analysts and experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) deputed by the Central Government had also reached Hyderabad.

The team visited the Government Chest Hospital to review the symptoms, treatment and precautions taken by the hospital administration.

Dr. Sudhakar, a medical specialist at the hospital, where the patients are admitted said that all the district headquarters have been informed to trace the passengers who had flown in by the BA 277 flight and their family members.

"The district medical and health officials have employed 15 teams with doctors and paramedical persons. Most of the passengers are from Hyderabad.

We have sent instructions to all the district headquarters also because some passengers are there in Karimnagar and other districts of Andhra Pradesh. We have informed the district medical and health offices of respective districts to trace these passengers and their family members and social contacts," said Dr. Sudhakar.

Further, he added that the Government Chest Hospital is well equipped to tackle any kind of eventualities.

"The Centre is well prepared. We have around 13 beds because now the cases are coming up. So anticipating more cases, we have created another isolation space at Kondapur and Vanasthalipuram. In fact, the Health Secretary is confident that if need arises we can have 100 isolation (wards) in Hyderabad itself. The district headquarters were advised to keep extra isolation rooms in the district headquarter hospitals and 10 rooms each.

Arrangements are already on their way and we are geared up for any eventualities," added Dr. Sudhakar.

Reportedly, a four-and-a-half year old girl has been tested positive for influenza in Hyderabad.

It is believed that the virus might have been transmitted to the girl through her brother, who was tested positive the previous week.

Although H1N1 swine flu appears mild, it affects mostly older children and young adults, and experts worry it could change into a more dangerous form.

The spread of H1N1 flu in Australia, Britain, Chile, Japan and Spain has nudged the world closer to a pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

The new strain, commonly known as swine flu, has infected 21,940 people in 69 countries, killing 125 of them, according to the WHO.

Mexico, the United States and Canada have borne the brunt of the illness. Work continues on developing a vaccine.

To declare a full pandemic, the WHO would have to confirm sustained spread of the virus in a single country and another region besides the Americas. (ANI)

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