News

    India Enacts New Guidelines After 1st Swine Flu Death

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Indian health authorities have issued fresh guidelines after the country's first confirmed death from the H1N1 Influenza-A virus. The new rules include the right to forcibly quarantine those with severe symptoms believed caused by swine flu.

    Delays in properly diagnosing a 14-year-old girl in Pune are blamed for contributing to her death - the first time India has recorded a fatality from swine flu.

    Authorities say Reeda Shaikh first showed symptoms of a runny nose, sore throat and a headache on July 21, but returned to school after consulting a doctor.  She developed a fever again on the 25 and was admitted to a private nursing home, two days later.

    Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad says an initial test by a clinic determined the girl did not have the H1N1 virus.  When her condition did not improve she was transferred to a second medical facility and initially treated for pneumonia.

    "And when both lungs were involved, that particular private hospital went for H1N1 tests.  And, it was unfortunately found positive.  But by that time it was too late for the medicine to [have an] effect," Azad said.

    An attorney for the Shaikh family, Asif Lampwala, speaking at a news conference, said Reeda's parents intend to file civil and criminal cases in connection with her death. 

    "We're going to teach a lesson to these private hospitals. We're going to sue them for damages. And we're going to claim huge sums of money from them. We're not interested in the money. The money which we obtain will be given to charity," Lampwala said.

    The chief minister of the state of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, calls the first swine flu death in the country a result of total negligence on the part of those who admitted the student to a private facility.

    Suspected swine flu cases are supposed to be treated at government hospitals, the only facilities authorized to test for H1N1 and where the medication Tamiflu is available.

    The Indian central government on Tuesday announced anyone with swine flu symptoms should go to designated government hospitals and the severely affected will be quarantined.

    Maharashtra state has invoked, in two hard-hit districts, the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897, allowing authorities there to forcibly quarantine patients. Local councils are to check students for signs of swine flu in schools. But chief minister Chavan says there is no need for the public to be alarmed.

    "People need not panic about this. The state government is making all efforts to see that this is controlled in time," Chavan said.

    About one-fifth of India's total of 550 reported cases of H1N1 are in Maharashtra, with most of the state's cases coming from Pune,  about 115 kilometers southeast of Mumbai.

    Swine flu has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization, although scientists say the virus appears less deadly in humans than initially feared.

    Since the H1N1 virus was first detected in Mexico, four months ago, more than 800 deaths have been reported worldwide. 


    Steve Herman

    Steve Herman is VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora