With the H1N1 outbreak in Mumbai abating considerably,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now getting ready to face a second wave in case one arises. The civic body is upgrading its Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) laboratory at Kasturba Hospital for testing H1N1 samples,as part of its preparedness to combat any fresh outbreak. The lab will start swine flu tests from October.
The lab,equipped with a PCR machine to test samples from BMC hospitals to confirm leptospirosis and other monsoon-related diseases,will soon have a real-time RT-PCR machine for testing suspected H1N1 samples and will comply with safety measures prescribed in the CDC and WHO guidelines.
A team of technical experts from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune reviewed the lab and gave a list of equipment to be added. We are procuring the machine and the lab will be functional by October. NIV will endorse the PCR machine and provide reagents. The first 50 samples will be sent simultaneously to both NIV and Kasturba lab for accuracy, said Manisha Mhaiskar,additional municipal commissioner,BMC.
We have given them technical guidance and will give them reagents. They have told us that they will meet level-II bio-safety measures, said Dr A C Mishra,director,NIV.
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During the H1N1 spread,the civic authorities had faced several bottlenecks in examination of throat samples sent to NIV,Pune,and Haffkine Institute,Mumbai,for tests to confirm swine flu and the civic authorities were eager to start the facility in its own lab.
Approval to start testing was given to us long back. Six technicians will be sent to NIV for training, added Mhaiskar. On sharing load of samples,Mhaiskar said,Once the lab is functional,it will serve on need-based response.
On Friday,the Government of India gave the nod to Super Religare Laboratories (SRL),a private laboratory,to share the burden of carrying out H1N1 confirmatory tests in the state.
Two more die of swine flu
A five-year-old boy died of swine flu on Tuesday taking the H1N1 death toll in the city to 16 until Tuesday. Faizan,admitted to Kasturba Hospital on September 3,tested positive for the virus on Friday and was put on Tamiflu.
His condition deteriorated and he was transferred to Nair Hospital on Saturday where he died on Tuesday afternoon.
Twenty-year-old Sapna,who was nine months pregnant,died on Sunday. She had been admitted to Holy Spirit Hospital in Andheri on August 29 for fever,cough and cold. She developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) on September 1.
Her throat swabs were taken the following day and she was put on Tamiflu the same day. She was tested positive on Saturday and passed away on Sunday.
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