The death toll in the mosquito-borne dengue in Andhra Pradesh climbed to five on Wednesday, with reports of fresh cases coming from different parts of the state.
Health officials confirmed that two people died of disease in West Godavari district and one in Khammam. One death each was reported earlier from Anantapur and Kadpa districts.
Unconfirmed reports, however, put the toll at 20 during the past week.
The officials said they could confirm the reports only if the blood samples of the victims test positive for dengue.
They have confirmed that 27 dengue cases were reported from different parts of the state during last five days, while unofficial figures are much higher.
Fresh cases of dengue were reported from Nizamabad, Kadpa, Visakhapatnam, West Godavari and Anantapur.
Dengue, caused by the bite of the female aedes aegypti mosquito which breeds in stagnant water, is marked by high fever, skin rashes and joint pain. Sometimes a sharp drop in blood platelet counts due to the disease can prove fatal.
The virus has affected more than 3,000 patients across the country in recent weeks.
Health Director P Venkateswara Rao said state officials were on alert and anti-mosquito operations were in full swing to control the spread of the diseases.
In their anti-mosquito campaign, the authorities were focusing on districts affected by recent monsoon floods. The coastal districts and Khammam were hit by floods last month and the stagnant water in several villages was proving a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who is also the chairman of the state health mission, on Tuesday announced the sanction of Rs 1 million to each of the 23 districts to control dengue and other vector- and water-borne diseases.
A state task force has been constituted with the principal secretary (health) as chairperson, and secretaries of municipal administration, panchayati raj and tribal welfare as members to take measures to control dengue and other diseases.