An outbreak of swine flu in Nagpur has claimed nine lives, including that of a 39-year-old pregnant woman, since January 14 this year.
Mayor Pravin Datke held an emergency meeting on Wednesday and directed the health department to launch an awareness campaign on preventative measures to be adopted, to check the spread of the disease.
Dr AK Niswade, dean of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), said nine more samples have tested at the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur. The patients are being treated at the hospital, he said.
Deputy director of the health department, Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, confirmed that nine people had died of swine flu in Nagpur in the past fortnight, of which six died at GMCH. The other three deaths were reported in private hospitals.
Dr Jaiswal added that a total of 28 people are undergoing treatment for swine flu in GMCH and private hospitals in Nagpur, after their blood samples were found positive.
Health officials said most of the patients who have tested positive are from Nagpur, Gondia and the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh. Experts investigating the cause of the outbreak blame low winter temperatures.
The H1N1 virus that causes swine flu first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spread around the world. The Nagpur municipal corporation has set up a special ward at the Indira Gandhi Hospital, and another special ward at GMCH.