Swine flu cases rise to 8

Two more people have tested positive for the H1N1 virus, popularly known as ‘swine flu’, taking the total number of infected to eight.

Tests conducted on four samples at the Capital’s National Public Health Laboratory on Monday confirmed that two people were suffering from the influenza.

On Sunday, the NPHL had detected two such cases in Kathmandu , while two each were found positive for the virus in Pokhara and Chitwan. NPHL Director Dr Geeta Shakya confirmed that two of the four samples had tested positive for the virus. “We have got 14 samples for test,” she said, adding those testing positive for the virus had a travel history to New Delhi, Rajasthan and Madras, among other cities in India.

However, Dr Shakya ruled out the possibility of its spread as epidemic. “Everyone seems concerned because media is reporting the issue on daily basis,” she said.

Dr Baburam Marasini, director of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), has assured that the situation is under control. The disease can be cured if detected in preliminary stage. But he cautions there is no preparedness to grapple with the disease if it propagates into an epidemic proportion. “There is dearth of budget and infrastructure to cope with the spread of disease,” he said. A total of 18 people have died of swine flu since it was first detected in Nepal in December 2009, according to the EDCD.

Concerned over the detection of new cases of swine flu, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers has directed the health authorities to take necessary measures to control and prevent the spread of H1N1 virus and provide necessary treatment to those infected. The authorities have also been instructed to carry out public awareness campaign and screening at entry points, including Nepal-India border areas.

Source: eKantipur