13 die of swine flu this month as IMA criticises state govt

In this month,13 people have died of swine flu while 67 others have contracted the virus so far this month,a top health official said Wednesday,adding the rate of infection has reduced by up to 40 per cent and the virus has not mutated.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: April 11, 2013 4:56 am

In this month,13 people have died of swine flu while 67 others have contracted the virus so far this month,a top health official said Wednesday,adding the rate of infection has reduced by up to 40 per cent and the virus has not mutated. The month’s casualties bring Gujarat’s total death toll from the virus to 178 so far this year,with 956 positive cases.

Meanwhile,the general secretary of the Indian Medical Association and India representative of the Global Hygiene alliance,Dr Narendra Saini,criticised the state government for its high death and infection rates regarding H1N1 at a press conference in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

According to Dr Dinkar Raval,deputy director of epidemiology in the state health department,the first week of April saw 58 new cases of swine flu and 11 deaths. The second week,till Wednesday,saw nine new cases and two more deaths.

“We have also been informed by the National Institute of Virology that no mutation has been detected in samples from Gujarat and that the illness still responds to Tamiflu (the main swine flu drug). We are expecting a full report soon,” he said.

Dr Raval added the current H1N1 outbreak cannot be termed an epidemic in the scientific sense of the word since it has been observed that “it occurs here and there” and manifests itself in people who have weakened immunity and when the atmospheric conditions become conducive.

“It is endemic. Number of cases are high,but it can’t be called an epidemic because it is not transmitted from person to person,but rather is already in the community and comes out in persons due to environment factors,” he said,adding a further reduction in infection rates is expected once summer arrives “without clouds and temperature swings”.

Separately at a press conference to promote proper hand-washing techniques in Ahmedabad,Dr Saini of the IMA and Global Hygiene,said,“In spite of being touted as progressive and developed,Gujarat has witnessed higher number of deaths due to swine flu and this is not a good scenario.”

“Lack of awareness and also lack of enough facilities like isolation wards,ventilators are likely to be responsible for the high death toll in swine flu cases in Gujarat,” the doctor said,adding “Gujarat is among the few states in the country where number of swine flu cases are significantly rising.”

IIT-Gn gets $5,00000 grant from Chicago company

A Chicago-based safety company has given a five-year grant of $5,00000 (about Rs 2.70 crore) to the Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar,according to a joint statement issued Wednesday.

“The Safety Centre at IIT-Gn has received a grant of US $ 500,000 from Underwriters Laboratories (UL)…to develop a Fire Engineering Laboratory and other fire safety research and education initiatives at IIT-Gn,” the statement,which quoted institute director Prof. Sudhir K Jain and U L’s senior vice-president and public safety officer Gus Schaefer,said.

“Under the five-year grant,IIT-Gn will collaborate with UL on major safety initiatives such as conferences,training programs for professionals,curriculum development and research projects. The initiative will also support undergraduate and post-graduate research projects for IIT-Gn students,” it added.

The two entities have partnered for about four years,including in the development of a national fire database,photovoltaic systems,converting a conventional fuel vehicle into an electric vehicle,with more than a dozen IIT-Gn students aiding research at UL’s US offices.

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