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Swine flu-struck Meghalaya demands testing centre in N-E

Posted by Ramesh Khati on August 14, 2009

SHILLONG: A day after the first swine flu case was reported in the state, the Meghalaya government on Wednesday
called for setting up of a government diagnostic centre for testing the H1N1 virus in the North-East even as it issued
an advisory asking people to avoid travelling, particularly to swine-flu hit places, unless it is urgent.

A 17-year-old footballer, who had returned from England after a train-ing session, had tested positive for H1N1 virus in the state on Tuesday. He has since been kept at an isolation ward at the Shillong Civil Hospital, where his condition is stated to be stable.

“People should avoid travelling, particularly to swine-flu hit places, un-less it is urgent. The fast spreading of the virus is mainly due to the mobility of people. As a preventive measure, people should skip avoidable travelling and prevent themselves from coming in contact with affected persons,” said Mukul Sangma, state health minister.

However, while calling for necessary screening at airports and railway stations, Sangma urged people not to panic and act responsively. “I am communicating with all the health ministers of the North-East to put pressure on the Centre to set up a testing centre in one of the government health institutions of the region so that samples of the suspected flu patients can be tested without sending them as far as Kolkata,” he said.

He said such a diagnostic centre with testing facilities could help check the spread of the virus in the region.

As for Meghalaya, Sangma said instructions have been given to the health department to form designated teams of doctors in the three government hospitals at Shillong, Jowai and Tura to handle flu cases exclusively.

Each team would include pathologists, nurses, ward boys and other re-quired support staff to look after the suspect cases, the health minister said, adding that the government has planned an elaborate awareness campaign on the disease. On the other hand, a team of experts from the Centre is expected to arrive in the state later on Wednesday to review the situation and oversee the preparedness.

Source:The Times Of India

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