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Swine flu cases rise in city,two schools suspend classes

With the number of H1N1 cases rising in the city,especially among schoolchildren,two schools — Dhirubhai Ambani International School...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
August 9, 2009 5:20:53 am

With the number of H1N1 cases rising in the city,especially among schoolchildren,two schools — Dhirubhai Ambani International School,Bandra,and JB Wacha High School for Girls,Dadar (East) — have decided to suspend their classes for a few days. Parents have been advised to take the necessary precautions.

According to doctors at Kasturba Hospital,the condition of the Dhirubhai Ambani International School student who had tested positive for the H1N1 virus is improving. They said she might have contracted the disease from her school.

Health officials have asked the school administration to close the affected classes for a week. The school authorities have asked students who have developed any of the H1N1 symptoms — cough,cold,fever or diarrhoea — to stay at home till they recover.

The school’s public relations officer said the affected student had last attended the classes on Friday and she was keeping well then. “After confirming the case,the administration has decided to suspend the classes till August 17.”

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A six-year-old from Thane and another student of JB Wacha High School have also been admitted to Kasturba Hospital. JB Wacha High School has suspended classes for two weeks.

Health officials,meanwhile,advised schools to inform parents that all classmates of the affected students need to be screened for the virus.

NB Chavan,assistant director,school education department,Mumbai region,said,”We have not yet received any information about precautionary measures in schools. If the health department asks us to do so,we will follow the instructions.”

Many schools are planning precautionary measures on their own. Lina Ashar,chairperson,Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd,said,”We haven’t had any swine flu case in our schools. No student,parents or authorities have got in touch with us in this regard so far. We will take a decision on precautionary measures on Monday,if necessary.”

Kishore Pillay,principal,RIMS International School,denied reports that a swine flu case was reported in the school. “Since August 3,we have been screening our students along with BMC officials. We have not come across any such case so far.”

Meanwhile,the BMC has sent a 20-point circular to all private schools in the city,asking them to take necessary precautions.

Dr Daksha Shah,the BMC’s head of epidemiology department,said if one child tested positive for H1N1,that particular class should be shut as per the guidelines. If more than one student are tested positive,the entire school should be shut.

According to the new BMC guidelines,every ward will have a rapid action team,comprising one ward level doctor and two to three paramedic staff. If teachers and principals suspect students of showing swine flu symptoms,they can immediately contact the rapid action team.

The civic administration is opening more testing centres besides Kasturba Hospital. The new screening centres are at Siddharth Hospital in Goregaon and MT Agarwal in Mulund. There will be special examination cells at Bhagwati Hospital (Borivali),Bhabha Hospital (Bandra) and Rajawadi Hospital (Ghatkopar).

According to officials,all these centres will start functioning on Sunday. Mumbai Police Commissioner,D Sivanandan,said policemen will be deployed at the five centres to avoid law and order problems.

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