Maharashtra's information technology capital Pune has earned a dubious distinction. It has recorded the highest number of swine flu cases in the state, with schoolchildren forming a majority of the victims, an official said.
Of the 54 positive cases of H1N1 detected in the state till on Saturday, 35 are from Pune, 15 from Mumbai, three in Thane and one in Nashik, said state Swine Flu Control Room head Pradeep Awate.
"Three schools in Pune where students were affected by the H1N1 virus have been shut by the authorities for a week to ensure that the disease does not spread among more children," Awate told IANS in Pune.
The schools are: Abhinav English Medium School (23 students affected), Symbiosis Primary and High School (2) and Seva Sadan High School (1), he said.
The number of victims in Pune suddenly shot up last fortnight when a team of students returned home after a trip to Indiana, US, he said.
"One of the students who returned had contracted the disease there and he passed it on to a cousin who is a student of Abhinav School," Awate said.
That student in turn unwittingly passed it on to another 22 children in his school, forcing the authorities to shut the school.
According to Awate, an issue of concern for the authorities is that all the victims display very minor symptoms which are very difficult to diagnose and treat.
However, they have all been quarantined in the Naidu Hospital in Pune, he added. The Mumbai victims are kept in quarantine at the Kasturba Hospital.
Unlike Pune, all the victims in Mumbai are adults who have a history of travel to and from major swine flu affected countries in Europe, South America and the US.
"We would like to emphasise that not a single case can be termed as serious. But we are taking maximum precautions since the virus is unknown and we want to prevent it from spreading," Awate said.
All the 54 victims are expected to remain in hospital for periods ranging from a week to a fortnight.