SUBJECT :Bird flu 

A security man stands guard outside the bird flu OPD screening centre set up at the GMSH, Sector 16, in Chandigarh on Sunday.

With two more suspected cases of bird flu in humans being reported at city hospitals from areas around Sukhna Lake a day after a 50-year-old person was identified with flu-like symptoms, a team of the UT Health Department today examined 2,400 residents in 500 houses in a 3-km radius of the lake. The survey of houses was started on December 19.

Today, houses were surveyed in Sector 10, Kishangarh, Bhagwanpura and Nayagaon. The two new cases were those of a 20-year-old woman from Sector 10 and a 30-year-old man from Nayagaon. Both had a history of exposure to geese in the past 10 days and had developed flu-like symptoms. They have been kept in an isolation ward at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16.

Yesterday, a 50-year-old official, who was involved in the culling operation of geese at the lake, was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula. The samples of nasal swabs of all three have been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi. The reports are awaited.

In addition, 20 cases of fever were identified by the team. However, they did not show any other flu symptoms, said the nodal officer of the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Program, Chandigarh, Dr Anil Garg.

As part of the standard operating procedure, following the confirmation of the first case of bird flu in geese, areas within a 1-km radius of the lake were fumigated yesterday. These included the Golf Club, the UT guest house and the Punjab and Haryana Raj Bhawans. Disinfectants (hydrochloride) were sprayed on the premises of the Punjab and Haryana Raj Bhawans today also. “Our teams are constantly monitoring the cases and fumigation has been done in areas adjoining the lake,” said the Director, Health Services, UT, Dr VK Gagneja. 

A separate flu screening area has been set up at the GMSH for referring suspected OPD patients for tests. A meeting of officials from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh will be convened tomorrow to take stock of the suspected cases which surfaced yesterday and today, and to plan the future course of action. 

More stocks of Tamiflu — medicine for curing and controlling bird flu — have been demanded. At present, nearly 5,000 doses of Tamiflu are available with the city hospitals and the UT Health Department.

Source: The Tribune,Chandigarh