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Meghalaya confirms swine flu case, minister’s niece flees quarantine zone

Posted by Ramesh Khati on August 12, 2009

Health officials in Meghalaya confirmed a 17-year-old footballer as a victim of the swine flu virus on Tuesday evening. His condition, however, was said to be stable.

“The teenager, Salwit Tongper from Dawki (near the Indo-Bangladesh border), had gone to the UK to play soccer. He arrived from England on August 3 and was admitted to a city hospital on August 8 on suspicion of contracting the H1N1 virus,” Meghalaya Director of Health Services KH Lakiang told HT from Shillong.

The nasal and throat swab samples of the patient was sent to the National Institute for Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata, for further examination on the same day and the case was tested positive on Tuesday.

Lakiang, however, said Tongper’s condition was stable and he was responding well to medication.

“We have sufficient stock of Tamiflu, and there’s no reason to panic,” he said, adding he held a meeting of all district medical officers towards offsetting an outbreak of swine flu.

Hours before the confirmation came, a hospital drama involving the niece of Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Mukul Sangma was played out in the Assam capital.

Jena Sangma, daughter of ex-Meghalaya minister Zenith Sangma, “escaped” from the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital on Monday afternoon after landing from Pune with a “suspicious” cough.

Jena, in her late 20s, and her father drove to the hospital in Guwahati before leaving for hometown Tura. However, Jena was quarantined in a hospital ward for 10 hours without medication.

“There wasn’t a single nurse, and I wasn’t even allowed to go to the toilet,” she said.

Officials in the hospital’s Rapid Reaction Team later confirmed Jena had slipped out of the hospital.


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