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Nepal Govt steps up swine flu surveillance

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 4, 2009

KATHMANDU, July 4 : The Ministry of Health (MoH) stepped up surveillance for swine flu and established one more health screening desk in Tatopani along the Nepal-China border on Friday.

So far, the country has recorded five swine flu cases, while an Indian national, who flew to Kathmandu from New Delhi, was quarantined at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Thursday on the suspicion of carrying the deadly flu.

“We have taken his blood sample and kept him under surveillance,” said Jitendra Shrestha, deputy director at the Avian Influenza Control Project under the MoH.

Apart from Tatopani, the government has established one desk each in Rani, Sunauli, Birgunj and Nepalgunj along the Nepal-India border.

The government established the screening desk at the TIA on April 29 and put over 40 Rapid Response Teams on high alert after Mexico reported the first-ever swine flu case in recent history on April 25.

The first cases of swine flu in Nepal were detected in a 44-year-old husband, his 38-year-old wife and their eight-year-old son, who arrived in Nepal from the United States via Doha on June 29. On July 2, two more children were found living with the flu.

Following its detection in Mexico, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared swine flu a pandemic on June 11.

On May 16, the first case of A(H1N1) virus infection was detected in India in a 23-year-old man, who arrived at Hyderabad Airport from the US. The virus has spread to over 113 countries so far.

According to the WHO, over 60,000 people have been infected with the deadly virus and 263 have died till date.

The administration has also deployed surveillance teams across the country and strengthened hospitals, mainly Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital to enable them to provide special treatment.

The government has stockpiled drugs, namely tamiflu and masks to take on the virus.

Though fear has gripped the nation with a possible outbreak of the pandemic, government officials have said there is no reason to panic.

Source: KantipurOnline


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