Maharashtra govt invokes Epidemic Act to check swine flu
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 04, 2009, 15:52
Mumbai: Maharashtra government on Tuesday invoked the Epidemic Act in Pune and Satara districts to check the spread of swine flu, a day after 14-year-old Pune school girl died of the deadly influenza virus.

"The Act has been invoked to prevent spread of this air-borne A(H1N1) virus in the two districts (Pune and Panchgani) where 127 cases have been reported," a senior official in Maharashtra Health Directorate, Dr Pradeep Awate said.

A total of 150 cases of swine flu have been reported in entire Maharashtra so far since April when the epidemic broke out in Mexico and US, he said.

"We are asking all the patients to get admitted in government hospitals and people should not go to private hospitals. Also, the private hospitals should not take any suspected patients as they do not have any right to do tests unless they take permission from the government," he said.

If the private hospitals do not follow this mandatory steps, severe action will be taken against them, Awate said.

Incidentally, Jahangir is the first private hospital that treated a swine flu case outside the three civic hospitals that have become the main referral centres for the last one month in Pune and have not reported any fatality so far.

Reeda Shaikh, a class IX student of St Anne's High School in Pune, died at the Jahangir Hospital, making her India's first swine flu fatality.

Awate said, though there is a panic like situation in Pune, "we are asking people not to worry but just follow the government instructions to help prevent the spread of the disease."

Earlier, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said there was negligence on part of the private hospital which treated the 14-year-old girl.

"This incident is really unfortunate. I feel there was total negligence on the part of those who admitted her to the hospital and negligence on part of the hospital," Chavan, who discussed the issue with senior health officials here, said.

The victim was admitted to Pune's Jahangir hospital a week ago with symptoms of swine flu.

Chavan asked people not to fall prey to any rumours but to co-operate with the health officials.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, August 04, 2009, 15:52

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