An NRI who flew to Hyderabad from Texas, the US state which reported the first swine flu death outside Mexico, was on Wednesday found to have the flu symptoms.
Authorities, who refused to divulge the identity of the person, only said he had arrived in the city two days ago and has now been quarantined.
Special teams of doctors who are screening passengers from US and other affected countries who entered in the last 10 days have also been going to their homes to conduct health check-ups. It was during one such check that the person was found to have signs of swine flu.
Doctors are checking for symptoms like running nose, fever, body aches and other viral fever symptoms among the passengers.
The first death in the Texan city of Brownsville, which borders Mexico, was that of a two-year-old Mexican boy who had come across the frontier. The cause of death on Monday was pneumonia brought on by the flu virus, which is spreading human to human. So far, 91 cases have been reported from the United States and 2,400 from Mexico, where 150 people have died of the flu. The case in Hyderabad, if confirmed as swine flu, would be India’s first.
According to Andhra Pradesh principal secretary (health) L V Subramanyam, the patient was brought to the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Narayanguda, to go through the preliminary tests for respiratory problems, cold and cough. After this he was referred to the Government Chest Hospital at Erragadda which is a quarantine centre. The patient will be kept there for 10 days of observation. The family members of the passengers do not have any symptoms and were not quarantined.
”The medical and health officials are looking at the records of all international passengers who landed in the city in the last 10 days and medical tests are being conducted on them,” Subramanyam said.
However, the chest hospital superintendent denied that any patient had been admitted with swine flu symptoms. ”We were informed that a patient would be sent to the quarantine facility but he did not turn up,” superintendent S V Prasad said.
Meanwhile, health officials who started screening international passengers conducted initial tests on passengers from 15 international flights which landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Shamshabad on Wednesday.
According to the doctors, none of the passengers were found to have symptoms of the flu. ”The passengers from all the 15 flights were checked at the boarding point, by the flight attendants and also by the doctors who were stationed in the airport,” an airport health official, Dr K N Reddy told the Times of India. He said that two duty doctors screened more than 1,000 passengers from early Wednesday morning.
”While some of the passengers were ailing with other infections, including stomach aches, no one was found with conditions which are like that of swine flu,” Reddy said. He said that chances of such passengers on board a plane were less as no one with swine flu symptoms was being allowed to leave their countries.