Birds have been tested positive for swine flu at the Sukhna Lake in Punjab, and there are reports of mysterious deaths of over 300 crows. The deadly Swine flu has struck, three people in Telangana and five people in Andhra Pradesh have become infected with the deadly virus.
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 cleanliness drive.
About 50 students from the government school, and 150 each from Carmel Convent and St Kabir's participated in the drive. The parents are worried about any possible effect on their children although the spot is far away from the place where the birds started dying from December 12. The authorities of these schools have also requested health officials for a medical check-up of the students.
Indira Beniwal, Principal of GMSSS in Sector 33 said, "The medical examination of our students was done in Saturday, all of them are all right and there is nothing to panic". However, students of the two private schools are yet to be examined.
Since both the schools are closed for winter vacation, "We have asked the schools to send us the names and addresses of the students who visited the lake and from Monday, health workers will visit their homes and examine them", said Dr VK Gagneja, Director of Health Services. 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.
According to sources, three workers from the animal husbandry department who had been quarantined have not developed fever, the first sign of any flu. "One of them is admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula. The other two are in the isolation ward of GMCH. However, none of them have developed fever," said Dr Gagneja.
There have been studies confirming, H5N1 does not yet spread easily between people. Doctors have warned that the winter could make the situation tougher as the low temperature allows the virus to stay longer in the atmosphere. As precautionary measures, the doctors have recommended a balanced diet, plenty of sleep and lots of fluids and fruits. Basic hygiene like frequent hand washing is also essential.
The scare of bird flu that has 60% mortality will fade away from Chandigarh, If not a single case of H5N1 is reported in humans for another five days, according to WHO surveillance guidelines.