Flooded with calls from anxious parents and school officials, the Health Department has decided that medical teams will visit students who visited Sukhna Lake in recent days as part of a government programme and medically examine them for symptoms of avian flu.
Students from Government Model Senior Secondary Schools in Sector 33, Carmel Convent School and St Kabir Public School had visited the lake on different days between December 10 and 16 to participate in a Swachhta Abhiyan (cleanliness drive).
About 50 students from the government school, and 150 each from Carmel Convent and St Kabir’s participated in the drive which was conducted near the parking area. Although the spot is far away from the place where the birds started dying on December 12, the parents are worried about any possible effect on their children. The authorities of these school have also requested health officials for a medical check-up of the students.
“The medical examination of our students was done in Saturday, all of them are all right and there is nothing to panic”, said Indira Beniwal, Principal of GMSSS in Sector 33. However, students of the two private schools are yet to be examined.
“We have asked the schools to send us the names and addresses of the students who visited the lake. From Monday, health workers will visit their homes and examine them,” said Dr VK Gagneja, Director of Health Services. Both schools are now closed for winter vacation. The Health Department has only about 200 health workers who are these days examining people residing in a one-kilometre area around the lake. “We have requested for additional health workers from Punjab and Haryana,” said Dr Gagneja.
* The Chandigarh Health Department will set up a separate helpline on Monday to answer health-related queries on avian flu. Experts from Public Health School, PGI, will answer questions, said Dr V K Gagneja.
* The blood test and x-ray reports of Shripal, the worker from Saketri who was involved in the culling peration at Sukhna Lake and was hospitalised after he complained of bodyache on Saturday, are normal. However, he is still under observation at Panchkula’s General Hospital, said Dr VK Bansal, Civil Surgeon
* Over a dozen crows were found dead in a valley near Pinjore on Saturday and their samples have been sent for testing to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, said Dr Amarinder Kaur, chief wildlife warden of Panchkula. Haryana’s Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry Dr M R Singla, who visited the spot, said the place was not visited by migratory birds.
* The Animal Welfare Board of India has written to the Advisor to the Administrator and IG of Chandigarh Police, complaining about cruelty during the culling of birds on December 18. In a letter, board secretary C Kalyansundaram said that ‘the action plan’ for such events ‘states that birds need to be anaesthetised preferably with sodium phenobarbital mixed with water, before the culling process. He has asked for a report with the action taken on his complaint.