Monday, August 10, 2009


New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The Indian armed forces have taken steps to check the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) into its ranks and identified 50 hospitals around the country for personnel showing swine flu-like symptoms, an official said Monday.

“Thirty-nine hospitals have been identified across the country for the Indian Army, and 11 for the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force,” said a senior army official, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The official said 10 soldiers were suspected with the virus but they have tested negative.

One of the problems facing the armed forces is the lack of swine flu testing kits.

“We do not have swine flu testing kits, and efforts are on to procure them from the government hospitals,” the official added.

Two laboratories, one for north and one for south, have been identified by the armed forces for testing. The samples will be sent to the National Institute for Disease Control in Delhi and the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

“Orders have been given to report the suspected cases immediately to the concerned authorities and quarantine the patient,” the official added.

According to the official, the spread of the disease would be very fast in the armed forces as the troops live in close proximity.

Six people have succumbed to the virus since the first death was reported in the country Aug 3. On Sunday, the health ministry said the total number of people infected by swine flu was 864. Of these, 523 have been cured and discharged from designated hospitals.

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