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After 15 H1N1 cases,school shuts for a week

After a four-hour meeting with over 1,000 parents at the jampacked Yashwantrao Chavan hall at Kothrud on Tuesday morning...

Written by Express News Service | Pune |
July 22, 2009 4:31:13 am

After a four-hour meeting with over 1,000 parents at the jampacked Yashwantrao Chavan hall at Kothrud on Tuesday morning,Abhinav English Medium School authorities decided to shut the pre-primary,primary and secondary school till Sunday and cancel the first unit tests scheduled during this period. The parents were told to ensure that the children observe home quarantine and do not maintain any social contact with the outside world.

The decision was taken after the school management held a marathon meeting,where,besides parents,authorities of the Pune Municipal Corporation and state health officials were present. The closure of the school was necessitated after 13 class VIII students and,for the first time,a student of class V,caught the H1N1 virus. On Tuesday,another student of class VIII tested positive,taking the tally to 15. Today’s case was among the nine students whose samples were sent for tests. Tests were conducted on six and five were negative. The remaining three results are expected shortly.

Chintamani Latkar,managing trustee of the Adarsh Shikshan Mandal that runs the school,announced the decision at the hall and appealed to the parents that it was their responsibility to ensure that children observe home quarantine.

Even as the decision of shutting the school and cancellation of the tests was made amidst several rounds of applause,health officials expressed concern that this flu was highly contagious and hence social contact should not be allowed.

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All children must observe home quarantine,said Dr R R Katti,deputy director,Health and the state’s nodal officer for ‘contact tracing’. It is tough to trace people who have been infected and then locate others they come across. The virus in the droplets lasts two to eight hours and is easily transmissible,said Dr Dilip Sarda,in charge of the Pune unit of the Indian Medical Association.

Katti told anxious parents that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stopped counting the number of patients getting infected. “What was important was containment of the spread and hence we urge parents to ensure children do not leave homes,” Katti said.

On Monday,the state health ministry had sent a letter to the state health officers advising them to suspend classes V and VIII for a week and ensure home quarantine of these children. Dr M S Chadda,deputy director of the National Institute of Virology (NIV) said while they were equipped with the requisite infrastructure,it was not necessary to conduct tests for each and every student. Only students who come in contact with patients and develop symptoms need to be medically tested,he said.

THE HIGHEST number tested positive from class VIII.

Thirteen class VIII students tested positive earlier. On Tuesday,the number went up by one.

A STUDENT of class V also got the disease

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