'No Hantavirus scare in Uttarakhand'

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Dehra Dun, Aug 9: Uttarakhand Health officials today said blood samples of a girl suspected to have died from the deadly Hantavirus had tested negative dismissing speculations that the disease, formerly unknown in India, had hit the state.

Talking to UNI, AD Health Dr Y S Bisht said the blood samples of two girls taken to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Delhi, had tested negative and there was no reason to believe that the Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) had hit the state.

He said one girl had died of typhus while the other was discharged from the Jolly Grant Hospital yesterday. One of the girls was from Dehra Dun and the other belonged to Tehri.

''The blood samples of the girls were taken to the NICD and the National Institute of Virology, Pune. While the NICD has confirmed that the deceased girl died of typhus, we are awaiting the Pune lab report which will certainly confirm no trace of HPS,'' Dr Bisht said.

The scare surrounding the virus could have been easily avoided had the blood samples been taken to the CMO, Dehradun, instead of a private hospital. As a safety measure, we had appealed to the public not to panic and advertised guidelines in local newspapers refraining people from coming into contact with rodents and lizards in their homes and public places, Mr Bisht said.

Yesterday, two surveillance teams were sent to Majra and Chamba in Tehri to trace down the virus, he added.

Although rare, humans can contract the deadly disease from infected rodents or their urine and droppings. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, chills and abdominal problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. About half of all HPS patients experience these symptoms, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US.


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