M A I N   N E W S

Rush for test, only if you must: Govt
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
The Centre today sought to put to rest the panic gripping people in wake of the first swine flu death in the country, saying it was fully capacitated to test and treat symptomatic cases, and there was no cause for alarm, whatsoever.

Only government laboratories are currently authorised and equipped to test potential swine flu cases, which are to be recommended by the doctor making the clinical assessment. Costs of the test are exorbitant — one negative H1N1 test costs the government Rs 5,000, while a positive one costs Rs 10,000.

As of now, 18 government labs across the country have been designated as nodal units for Influenza A H1N1 virus testing; each lab catering to a certain set of states to ensure full coverage.

Meanwhile, Pune continues to report the highest number of cases of secondary transmission of H1N1 in the country (about 100 of the total 210 cases), primarily because they did not report the infection earlier. Delhi has the largest number of imported cases at about 120, while the total count in India soared to 615 today, with 19 new infections — 11 in Delhi and 8 in Pune. Of these, 487 have been treated and discharged.

Sources in the emergency medical relief department of health ministry told The Tribune that the existing 18 labs had been set up with future cases on mind, as the load was expected to soar with the onset of seasonal influenza season. It is also learnt that currently only four government labs, of the 18 designated, are working to test samples, while the rest continue to be underutilised.

“It is wrong to assume that 18 labs are insufficient for the country. It is a negative publicity. Firstly, not everyone needs testing. Revised guidelines outline the need for informed testing to ensure no unnecessary alarm is caused. Our current testing facilities are also underutilised as they have been put in place with the future virus impact on mind,” Dr VM Katoch, secretary, health research, said.

H1N1 Testing Labs

n PGI, Chandigarh, for Chandigarh, J&K and Punjab
n CRI, Kasauli, for Himachal Pradesh and Haryana
n IGMC, Shimla, for Shimla and upper Himachal areas
n AIIMS, Delhi, for Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand
n Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, Delhi, for Rajasthan
n NICD, Delhi, for Delhi
n SGPGI, Lucknow, for Uttar Pradesh



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |