Swine flu outbreak: 774 deaths, 13,000 cases set alarm bells ringing
The number of deaths across India due to swine flu reached 774 on Saturday, with 31 more people succumbing to the disease.
States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Maharashtra and Telangana witnessed a rise in number of swine flu cases and the figure of those infected with H1N1 virus stands at 12,963 till February 21, according to Union health ministry.
The toll due to swine flu in Rajasthan on Friday reached 206, as four more deaths due to the disease were reported in the desert state, officials said.
"Four deaths and 288 positive cases were reported today (Friday)," BR Meena, director for public health, said.
The total positive cases since January 1 touched 4,185 on Friday.
The highest number of deaths at 34 was reported from Jaipur, followed by Ajmer at 27.
Eleven more people have died due to swine flu in Gujarat on Saturday, taking the total death toll due the disease to 197.
The total number of cases reported from Gujarat has touched 2886.
Three more deaths due to swine flu were on Friday reported in the national capital taking the toll to nine.
According to the Directorate of Health Services (DHS), two patients aged 69 and 51 years succumbed to the viral disease on Friday in central Delhi's BL Kapoor hospital and west Delhi's Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, respectively.
The third death was of a 23-year-old pregnant woman, who was infected with swine flu while she was admitted to the Delhi government's LNJP hospital during her pregnancy.
Delhi recorded 2,060 cases of swine flu till Friday.
Jammu and Kashmir
A senior police officer of Jammu and Kashmir, Sunil Gupta, who died on February 19 due to respiratory distress was suffering from H1N1 virus, doctors confirmed on Saturday.
Four people suffering from the virus have so far died in the Valley.
With 25 new cases testing positive for the virus in the last 2 days, the number of people infected by H1N1 in the Valley has risen to 109.
No fresh swine flu case was reported in Himachal Pradesh on Friday and those infected with the H1N1 virus were being treated, state health minister Kaul Singh Thakur said.
So far, 16 persons, including three deceased, have tested positive for swine flu in the state.
With nine more patients of swine flu in Lucknow, the total figure of those infected by the disease reaches 129.
So far 165 people have tested positive for H1N1 in 15 districts of UP. The number of deaths due to the virus is six so far in the state.
The districts affected by swine flu include Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Sitapur, Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Bareilly and Hapur.
Ghaziabad District Magistrate Vimal Kumar Sharma has tested positive for swine flu and is recuperating in a private hospital in Vaishali area of the city.
An eight-year-old boy died of swine flu on Friday while 11 fresh cases of H1N1 infection were detected in the last 24 hours in West Bengal.
The death of the boy took the toll in the state to three while the total number of people infected by it went up to 58.
Most of these fresh cases are reported from Kolkata while two or three are from the North 24 Parganas district.
As many as 27 people in Chhattisgarh had been detected with swine flu this year and three persons have died of the disease.
"202 samples of suspected swine flu patients were sent to the National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi, of which reports of 118 were received," Director, Health Services, R Prasanna said at a press conference on Friday.
"The reports confirmed that 27 of them were H1N1 positive and three of them have died so far," he said.
A total of 115 people have been successfully treated and discharged, out of 208 affected with swine flu, Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Minister C Vijaya Baskar told the state assembly on Friday.
He said the state government was taking all preventive measures.
Around 7,000 sets of protective medical equipment have been given to health professionals - doctors and others - attending to swine flu patients, he added.
As many as 218 patients are being treated for swine flu in Maharashtra, while 48 patients are on life support, according to an official statement in Mumbai.
According to latest reports on Saturday, 92 patients have succumbed due to the virus.
The total number of patients in Maharashtra has now risen to 801.
Out of the total number of swine flu cases detected, 178 were from Nagpur, 334 were from Pune and 289 in Mumbai, it said.
Three more deaths from swine flu and 24 new cases of the H1N1 virus have been reported in Telangana
"In the current year from January 1 till February 20, 3,649 samples have been tested, out of which 1,223 were found to be positive and number of deaths because of other complications and swine flu as on date are 51," a bulletin on swine flu said.
The bulletin issued on Friday put the number of deaths at 49.
Punjab and Haryana
Punjab and Haryana have reported 51 deaths due to swine flu so far this year, senior officials said in Chandigarh on Friday.
While 31 people have died in Punjab, Haryana has reported 20 casualties.
Punjab's nodal officer Deepak Bhatia said 95 swine flu cases are being treated and 227 suspected cases are under observation in different hospitals across the state.
The northeastern states have sounded a high alert to prevent the spread of swine flu in the bordering region even as two women tested positive for the virus in Nagaland and Mizoram.
In Mizoram a Mizo woman was detected with swine flu, the first case in the state, bordering Myanmar.
Symptoms and preventive measures
The H1N1 virus spreads through droplets expelled in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes for though touching contaminated surfaces. People are contagious from one day before to seven days after they develop symptoms.
Symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, headache and coughing, sore throat, diarrhoea, nausea and/or vomiting.
Infection can be prevented by staying away from infected persons and observing personal hygiene: washing hands frequently, avoiding contact with infected surfaces, and covering your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing.
'No shortage of medicines'
Pharma majors assured the Centre there will be no swine flu drugs and vaccine shortages as they have the raw material and capacity to ramp up production, should the need arise.
The Union health ministry met pharmaceutical majors late Friday night to review drugs and medicine stocks.
“There is no question of shortages, Hetero Drugs has ample stock of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) needed to manufacture more than 4 lakh paediatric doses and unlimited amounts of adult capsules of oseltamivir within a month,” says Ram Babu, senior manager (Delhi operations), who attended the meet on behalf of Hetero Drugs. The Centre has already purchased 1 lakh capsules of oseltamivir from Hetero.
Steps taken by govt
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked health officials to ensure necessary treatment and adequate medicines for swine flu patients while affected states have been offered central assistance even as the death toll due to the disease reached 743.
A high-level meeting, chaired by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth, was convened in New Delhi on Thursday to review the situation and address issues like shortage of drugs.
Seth told media after the meeting that the prime minister has given instructions to ensure that medicines are available and patients get necessary treatment.
Union health minister JP Nadda asked people to remain alert and not panic as the numbers climbed.
Health authorities have also launched a campaign over television and radio to tell people about precautions they should take to avoid the flu.
"There is no cause for panic. The situation is totally under control. There is no dearth of funds or vaccines to tackle swine flu," DGHS Dr Jagdish Prasad said.
The ministry added that, from now onwards, the casualty figure would only go down.
Video: 5 swine flu myths you need to junk right now
With inputs from PTI, IANS, ANI