A 34-year-old woman and her five-year-old son from Tamil Nadu, who returned from the US on May 28, have become India’s latest victims of the deadly H1N1 influenza virus — an infection that has spread to 55 countries, taken 99 lives and infected 15,510 people globally. Interestingly, the woman’s eight-yearold daughter who had also travelled with them tested negative for H1N1 infection. All three have been put in quarantine at an isolation facility in Coimbatore and have been administered Tamiflu — the only known antiviral effective against swine flu. Sources said the woman and her children had gone to visit her husband who works in Boston. Health secretary Naresh Dayal said, ‘‘The family was checked for fever both in US and Chennai and they had tested negative. They started getting symptoms only after they reached Coimbatore.’’ India is now trying to track down around 55 domestic passengers who had travelled with this family on the Kingfisher flight IT-2901 from Chennai to Coimbatore. Since H1N1 is an airborne disease, it is vital that co-passengers of those infected are checked for symptoms at the earliest, before it becomes a full-fledged outbreak. The latest infections take India’s tally of positive H1N1 cases to three. India last month had reported its first case of H1N1 flu in a student who had travelled to Hyderabad from New York via Dubai. India’s latest victims had arrived in Chennai from New York via Dubai on an Emirates flight on May 28. They travelled to Coimbatore the same day. The family reported to a health facility after the boy had fever. The health ministry said, ‘‘The patients are presently afebrile (have no fever). All their local contacts have been traced. They too are afebrile and their health status is being monitored. Passengers of the Kingfisher flight and those of EK-542 are being traced and advised to monitor their health status.’’ Meanwhile, screening of passengers coming from affected countries is continuing in 21 international airports in India. On Monday, over 47,000 passengers were screened by 221 doctors and 88 paramedics deployed to man 76 counters.
Labels: India H1N1 June 2009