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40 more swine flu deaths; govt orders more drugs, testing kits, 218 in maha

Swine Flu

New Delhi: Swine flu deaths in the country continued unabated with 40 more people perishing as the toll reached 743 and the number of H1N1 cases inched towards the 12000 mark even as the government today ordered additional testing kits and Oseltamivir drugs to tackle the virus.

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 here.

The Union Health Ministry was also procuring 2000 swine flu vaccines especially for the healthcare workers who are at maximum risk of catching swine flu from infected patients.

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 11955 till February 19, according to Union Health Ministry.

“We have placed orders for procuring swine flu testing kits worth Rs 84 lakh and Tamiflu tablets and syrup estimated to be Rs 30 lakh to keep stocks of medicines. There is no dearth of medicines and hospitals were equipped to deal with the disease,” said a senior Union Health Ministry official.

Meanwhile, Union Minister J P Nadda also reviewed H1N1 situation in Uttar Pradesh and offered all central assistance as requested by the state, an official release said.

The state government assured that necessary steps have been taken and stock of medicines, testing facilities, masks etc., are in adequate quantity, it added.

Concerned over the upsurge in cases, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth had chaired a high-level meeting yesterday during which he asked the states to ensure setting up of necessary helplines and round-the-clock functioning of outbreak monitoring cells.

Seth, while chairing a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee, also directed drug controllers of states to ensure availability of necessary vaccines, along with guidelines for vaccination and treatment protocol.

After the meeting, Seth said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed that there should be no shortage of medicines and patients should get necessary treatment.

A team of experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been asked to study patterns in mortality such as which areas, age groups and section of people have been most affected, in addition to deaths due to co-morbid conditions in all the states by collecting random samples.

According to Delhi government officials, 1917 swine flue cases have been reported and six people have died due to this disease in the city. A woman died in a city hospital today and doctors are ascertaining whether she had swine flu.

Delhi government’s Health department has also granted licence to 40 new drug stores to sell Tamiflu tablets for treatment of swine flu in the national capital.

The city government has ordered all private medical labs not to charge more than Rs 4,500 to carry out tests for the viral disease following complaints of several patients that tests are being conducted at exorbitant rates in the city’s private labs.

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