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216 swine flu deaths in India in February

swine fleAs many as 216 people have lost their lives to swine flu across India in the first ten days of February as the death toll due to the contagious disease mounted to 407 this year, mostly in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan.

The latest government data said that 5,157 cases of the disease has been reported since January 1 this year till February 10 and the health ministry is drafting guidelines for vaccination of health workers who are in contact with H1N1 patients.

The Indian health ministry had earlier said that swine flu has claimed 191 lives in the country against the total number of 2,038 cases reported in January this year, reports the Times of India.

“It was noted that during January 1 to February 10 the total number of H1N1 cases is 5,157 and number of deaths are 407.

“Largely, the cases are from Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana while the deaths largely are in Maharashtra,Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Telangana,” the health ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement came after health secretary B P Sharma chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of H1N1 influenza being reported from different states.

The ministry said that after getting expert advise, it was decided that various health institutions treating swine flu cases be “advised” to get the health workers, who are in contact with such patients, vaccinated.

“This will be in addition to the proper personal protective measures being followed at the hospitals. Guidelines are being drafted for vaccination of healthcare workers and these will be shared with the states for dissemination to all health institutions,” the statement said. The Health Ministry has already placed an order for enhancing stock of diagnostic kits to be supplied to the lab network under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) being used for testing H1N1 influenza.

“To enhance the level of preparedness, additional 60,000 Oseltamivir medicines and 10,000 N-95 masks are being procured. In addition, NCDC has floated a tender for additional 10,000 diagnostic kits,” the statement said.