Swine flu cases crossed the century mark in the state on Tuesday when seven people tested positive taking the toll to 101.
Pune has recorded the highest number of 66 cases, while Mumbai region, including Thane, has 19, followed by Panchgani with 16.
Describing the spread of the virus in Pune city as alarming, state health authorities said that it has almost reached the level of an outbreak.
“Given the number of cases and the pace at which fresh ones are coming up, we can say it is an outbreak. People need to be very careful, especially in areas where maximum cases are reported from,” said Dr Pradeep Awte, head of the state influenza cell.
The sharply increasing numbers in Pune has forced the government to seek help from private hospitals for treatment.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajendra Shingne on Tuesday announced that help would be taken from private hospitals to ensure proper treatment.
On Tuesday, three schoolchildren — one each from New India, Spring Dell and Bal Shikshan Mandir — tested positive for the virus.
Two parents of children who had tested positive earlier have also contracted the virus.
Spring Dell and Bal Shikshan have two students each who have tested positive for swine flu. A 23-year-old woman from Mumbai who returned from Bangkok also tested positive.
“Private hospitals will be provided necessary instructions along with stock of Tamiflu,” said Shingne. Currently, only government hospitals are treating swine flu patients as medicines required are available only with them.
State health authorities have called for a meeting on July 31 in Pune to review the situation. They are also contemplating on closing down schools.
“Six schools have already reported cases, most of them in Kothrud. We will take suggestions on how to contain the spread. Also other logistical and other decisions,” said Awte.
So far, five out of the six schools that reported cases have decided to remain shut until August 3. “Children are known to spread the virus at a faster pace. People should be alert because even one slip can have serious repercussions,” said Awte.