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Epidemic Act in Haryana from today
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Haryana is all set to invoke the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, from tomorrow even as the number of H1N1 cases — the latest being a doctor from Sirsa — in the state climbed to 11.

While Gurgaon continues to be in the high-risk category from where eight cases have been reported so far, two more cases have been reported from Panipat in the last few days. The patients are under treatment in various government hospitals. A report on two suspect cases was awaited from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, New Delhi, while family members of the doctor are also on the list of suspected patients and have been referred to PGI, Rohtak.

The Health Department maintained that the decision to invoke the Act was more out of precaution than any threat of the disease acquiring any epidemic proportions. The Principal Secretary, Health, Anuradha Gupta, said the experience of other states had shown that people reported at private hospitals, where the flu was treated casually.

“Invoking the Act would mean that it would be obligatory on the part of private hospitals to notify the government hospital in their respective areas of any patient reporting with swine flu-like symptoms. Further, if the government hospitals, at all, run out of capacity, we will have the option of taking the services of private hospitals to treat the patients.”

While the Tamiflu vaccine and protective kits have been made available at Faridabad, Gurgaon, Hisar, Rohtak and Ambala, the supply of medicines and logistics is regularly being updated at these five centres.

“However, today, we have got instructions from the Centre to make medicines available at all district hospitals. We will dispatch the consignments to all districts as soon as the supply comes in from the Centre,” Gupta added. Though district hospitals have already been asked to have quick response teams and isolation wards to deal with any exigency, home quarantine is being strongly advocated.

Sources said that the number of patients reporting at district hospitals, too, had shot up in the last few days. With viral on the rise, patients with cough and cold, too, were reporting in large numbers to get tested for the influenza, leading to unnecessary panic in the public and burden on the hospitals. So far, 27 patients have been treated and discharged from the hospital and no death has so far been reported due to Swine Flu.

Meanwhile, in Sirsa, a government doctor testing positive for swine flu has set alarm bells ringing. The victim, a medical officer working in general hospital Fatehabad, had accompanied his parents and wife to Manglore in July, where his mother had undergone a surgery and contracted the virus there.

The family returned on July 25 and the doctor joined duties at Fatehabad on July 27 only to proceed on leave again from August 3 after be complained of fever and cold. The Civil Surgeon, Fatehabad, Dr OP Arya, said since the doctor in question attended to patients while on duty, the hospital authorities would carry out a quick survey of patients examined by the doctor between July 27 and August 3 on Monday. “We have the record of all such patients and would reach out to each and every patient. The doctors and staff in hospital, too, were being ‘sanitised’ for any symptoms,” he said.

(With inputs from Sushil Manav in Sirsa)



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