GUWAHATI, March 15 � Altogether 12 people have so far been infected by the H1N1 (swine flu) virus in the State and two of them have died, but the government is fully prepared to deal with the situation, said State Health Minister Nazrul Islam.
Addressing reporters here today, Islam said that the Assam government started taking precautionary measures as soon as the first cases of swine flu were reported from the western States.
�ICU wards at all the Medical Colleges and Civil Hospitals have been kept reserve for swine flu patients,� Islam said.
He said four persons have been detected with swine flu in Jorhat and Dibrugarh each, three in Guwahati and one in Tezpur. The infected people include two Army personnel from Dibrugarh and Tezpur.
�Of the 12 persons, seven had travel history and five were affected locally,� Islam said.
Requesting citizens of the State not to panic, the Minister said that normal persons are not affected by swine flu.
�Only people who have health complications like cancer, AIDS, high diabetes, heart or lung ailment, kidney ailment and such things, are at risk. If any persons having such complications get swine flu, then they are to be immediately hospitalized and kept in isolation. Both the persons who have died had health complications,� Islam said.
He added that one ambulance each has been kept stand-by at each Civil Hospital in the State for transferring patients to GMCH or any other Medical College in case of necessity.
�If any patient with relevant symptoms goes to any Civil Hospital, then the system is to take his or her swab and send it for test to GMCH or the Lahwal Civil Hospital,� said the minister.
He said the Central government has classified the outbreak of swine flu in three categories -- A, B and C.
He said that while A and B category patients do not need hospitalization, the C category ones need immediate treatment at hospitals.
The categorization is as per symptoms and not as per diagnosis, he added.
Islam said the government will start distribution of leaflets through Public Health Centres and SMSes will also be sent via mobile service to create awareness among public about H1N1 virus.
He also said that only swine flu patients and health personnel treating such patients should wear swine flu mask and not other people.
Regarding allegations that a lady with symptoms was sent back from GMCH without testing yesterday and later found to be infected with the virus when a test was conducted by a private medical firm, the Minister said, �The lady who came to GMCH was in the category A of patients where no swab has to be taken as per the guidelines. Despite this, when her swab was sought to be taken, she was found to have left the hospital.�