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132 people quarantined in Meghalaya
Correspondent SHILLONG, AUG 17:
Published on 18 Aug. 2009 1:03 AM IST
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As many as 132 pupils and teachers in Meghalaya have been restricted from attending school, even as hospital authorities here collected the swab samples of four more persons suspected with swine flu symptoms, a senior health official said Tuesday. The H1N1 pandemic had hit five persons in the state, three of whom contracted the flu from 17-year-old footballer Salvit Tongper, the first person to have tested positive with virus, who had returned from UK, a week ago. Joshua Lyngdoh, a class VII student of St Edmund’s School was among the five people who have tested positive for the deadly virus. The other three included Mariabiang Latang, a trainee of Sports Authority of India, Dolsius Syiemlieh, ward boy of Shillong Civil Hospital and Rodrick Lyngdoh who came from Pune. “We have administered chemoprophylaxis treatment to 117 classmates and 15 teachers of Joshua to ensure that the H1N1 virus do not pass on to other students,” Director Health of Services Dr KH Lakiang said. All of them have been told to strictly stay indoors for 10 days and not to attend school, he added. Of the four tested positive, Dr Lakiang said three - Joshua, Mariabiang and Dolsius – contracted the H1N1 virus through Tongper, while Rodrick was believed to have been infected with the virus in Pune. Hospital authorities have also collected swab samples of Joshua’s sibling - Grata Lyngdoh and Jason Lyngdoh, besides a city college student who visited Tongper in the isolation ward at Shillong Civil Hospital. “Their swab samples were collected after they complained of flu symptoms and sent to the National Institute for Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata, for further examination,” Dr Lakiang said. Of the 16 samples, including that of Assembly Speaker Charles Pyngrope and wife which were sent to the NICED, five have tested positive, eight negatives, while the remaining results were awaited. As Meghalaya recorded five persons with swine flu virus- the highest in the north eastern states so far- the Meghalaya health department has issued front page advertisement advising the people to report to the nearest designated hospital if they develop swine flu like symptoms. To quell the panic among the public, the government has also inserted a line in the advertisement saying that swine flu was treatable and has put up helplines in the Civil Hospital. ‘’People visiting the state, especially those travelling from Maharashtra, Karnataka and other places where the deadly disease has reached an alarming proportion, must undergo a thorough medical check-up for their own good,’’ Meghalaya Health and Family Welfare, Dr Mukul M Sangma said. He also said that there must be adequate screening facilities at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport and railway station in Guwahati. As people from outside have to enter other north eastern states from Guwahati, Dr Sangma said the screening at the airport and railway stations would help in checking the spread of the disease. The Meghalaya government also feels that the central government must set up one diagnostic centre in North East to expedite screening of suspected swine flu patients.

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