LUCKNOW: Swine flu cases may be rising at an epidemic pace across the country, but its number is unexpectedly low in Uttar Pradesh. The official tally for swine flu for the country’s biggest state stood at 105 , including seven deaths here on Sunday. Swine flu has affected more than 5,000 persons and killed 400 persons across the country.
According to the data with state health directorate, swine flu cases have been reported from 13 districts including tourist destinations Agra and Varanasi. Lucknow, so far, is the worst-affected district with three deaths and 69 H1N1 positive cases.
Gautam Buddha Nagar has seen 13 cases followed by Agra where six cases have come to light. Sitapur and Bareilly follow with three cases each. Ghaziabad, Saharanpur and Hapur have seen two cases each while Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar, Allahabad, Hardoi and Bahraich have seen one case each. Of the deaths reported, three came to light in Lucknow, two in Ghaziabad, one each in Saharanpur and Kanpur Nagar.
The low presence of swine flu in UP was being seen with suspicion that the cases were being under-reported here. “There are no testing facilities in districts of Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal,” said an official in health directorate. This gains weight considering that World Health Organisation alert on influenza clearly states that swine flu virus was circulating over northern and western India.
The claim appears true in the light of evidence. Sample of the girl who died of swine flu in Kanpur was sent to microbiology department at King George’s Medical University. The report of this girl reached Kanpur a day after her death. Similarly, chief medical officer of Varanasi M P Chaurasia sent samples of a suspected case was sent the regional laboratory at health directorate. “This is being done as there is no testing facility in the city,” Chaurasia told TOI, adding that the patient was put on symptomatic treatment.
Principal secretary health and family welfare Arvind Kumar, however, denied any dearth of testing facilities. “Samples are being collected from the districts and sent to Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and KGMU. Some samples are being sent to the lab at National Center for Disease Control Delhi. More than 270 samples have been tested by these labs since then,” he said.
He admitted labs were needed in places like Poorvanchal and Bundelkhand. “We have already proposed testing facilities in Baba Raghav Das Medical College, Gorakhpur, SN Medical College in Agra and a regional lab in Varanasi,” claimed Kumar.