Five new cases of swine flu were reported in Chennai and suburbs on Sunday taking the total to 73 cases this season in the state.  According to Dr Porkai Pandian, one of the patients, a 31-year-old pregnant woman has been admitted to the Institute of Obstetrics and Gyanecology in Egmore and has been kept in the isolation ward. The others – 17-month-old male baby from Tiruvottiyur and Aravind, a 19-year-old from Mangadu – have been quarantined at home. Gokul (23) of Valasaravakkam and Sathyabhama (55) of Porur have been admitted to Sri Ramachandra Medical College in Porur.

“None of these patients are in danger. They have had no history of travel either. The virus is in transmission in the community,” he said.

Dr Pandian said that initially the vulnerable pockets of Chennai and Coimbatore would be targeted for community vaccination. He said there were adequate stocks of Tamiflu in the State and tenders floated by the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation for the drug Oseltamivir would be opened tomorrow. Community vaccination will begin by the end of this week. When asked about if private hospitals had enough stock of vaccines, he said, “We ourselves have a shortage of vaccines. Once we get them, maybe we can sanction some to private hospitals.”

“High-risk groups such as the elderly and persons with lung problems such as asthma will be covered. More health workers will also be vaccinated,” he said. In the State, the total number of cases moved to 73 cases which includes, Coimbatore with 18 cases, Tiruppur 5, Cuddalore and Madurai 3 each and Karur and Tiruvallur 2 each.

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