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People scan, 58000 a day

Navapur, Feb. 20: The number of patients quarantined in a hospital here climbed to eight today as the government began a massive health survey in Navapur and surrounding areas, aiming to check on 58,000 people every day.

No confirmed human infection has been reported so far.

State government medical teams will carry out daily house-to-house surveys at Navapur and 18 villages within a 3-km radius of the town till February 28.

“The incubation period of avian flu in humans is up to five days but we will monitor the whole area for double that period,” said Dr S.J. Matha, principal of the Health and Family Training Centre, Nashik, who is here to help the surveillance efforts.

“Every day, we expect to cover the 39,079 people of the town and the 19,050 in the 18 villages.”

At the Navapur sub-district hospital, civil surgeon Dr M.V. Munde said the eight quarantined patients were under observation.

They include four boys, two women and two relatives of Ganesh Sonar, the 28-year-old who visited Navapur before dying in a hospital in Surat, his hometown, last week with symptoms of viral pneumonia.

Sonar, who erected tents for a living, had touched some dead chicken during his visit to Navapur. It hasn’t been established if he died of avian flu, doctors said.

Ninety-four poultry workers from 16 farms in Nava- pur continue to be quarantined, too ' reportedly at the town hall ' but doctors are tight-lipped about their hea-lth details. Medical teams today sought blood samples from workers at several poultries.

Matha explained how the door-to-door survey is being done. He said he commands a team of 150 health workers and officials: 39 auxiliary nurses and midwives (ANMs), 61 multi-purpose workers (MPWs), 14 medical officers and 36 supervisors from the panchayat samiti office.

“We revised our strategy after realising that a single worker could cover at the most a hundred houses and a population of about 500. Today, we restructured the teams and sent teams of four to five MPWs or ANMs and a supervisor to each of Navapur’s 21 localities,” Matha said.

Each house surveyed is marked with the letters “AF” (for avian flu) and the date so that a daily record can be maintained.

Late in the evening, Matha claimed every house in Navapur town had been surveyed today and he was waiting for reports from the teams that had gone to the villages.

Additional health teams are likely to be brought in to make the survey as thorough as possible.

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