Over 596 dead due to swine flu, Centre orders additional stocks of medicines

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The death toll due to swine flu is increasing with each passing day and has claimed over 596 lives this year. Altogether 8,423 people have contracted swine flu this year with Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are the worst-affected states with their respective tolls standing at 176, 150, 76 and 58, official figures said.

The Centre has ordered additional stocks of medicines and diagnostic kits following a spurt in cases of swine flu.

In Gujarat, the total number of deaths since January has reached 150, an official release said. Apart from these deaths, 107 new cases of swine flu were recorded across the state, taking the total number of cases to 1,781 till date.

One of the worst-affected states is Rajasthan, where the death toll has reached 176. While 33 districts in the state have reported cases of swine flu, eight districts of Sawaimadhopur, Dholpur, Sirohi, Jalore, Baran, Jhalawar, Pratpagarh, and Rajsamand have not reported any mortality due to H1N1.
In Karnataka, 1,057 positive cases have been registered since January and 285 people have died so far. As many as 46 patients have succumbed to swine flu and 1,068 cases of the deadly H1N1 virus have been reported in Telangana this year.

Delhi and Tamil Nadu have reported a high incidence of swine flu cases but death toll in the two states is relatively low due to high level of awareness and a better developed health sector. Punjab has the highest ratio of the number of deaths to those affected by the disease. Thus, 25 of the 68 people who contracted the virus in the state this year have succumbed to swine flu.

Apart from ordering additional stocks of medicines and diagnostic kits, Health ministry officials said they have sent central teams to the worst-affected states like Rajasthan and Gujarat and have developed appropriate guidelines.

“The government has already placed an order for enhancing stocks of diagnostic kits – for testing for the H1N1 virus – to be supplied to the lab network under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

“To enhance the level of preparedness, additional stocks of the drug, Oseltamivir, and 10,000 N-95 masks are also being procured,” an official statement said.

Concerned over reports of shortage of medicines used for treating swine flu, drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has asked pharmaceutical majors including Cipla and Ranbaxy to keep adequate stocks of the drugs.

“It has been reported to this office that the medicines used for swine flu, oseltamivir, zanamivir, rimantadine are in short supply in the country. The non-availability of these vital drugs may lead to higher risk of complications to the patients infected with H1NI virus,” NPPA said in a letter to the companies.