An increase in swine flu cases in India has caused more than 900 deaths since January, Health Ministry officials said yesterday.
The numbers are almost triple the swine flu deaths recorded in all of 2016, but less than the 1,786 deaths recorded in 2015.
Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by the virus H1N1, which causes colds, sore throats, coughs and fever.
The first human outbreak was in 2009, according to the World Health Organisation.
“Old people, infants and those suffering from chronic diseases are particularly susceptible to the A(H1N1) virus,” said Anil Bansal of the Delhi Medical Association.
Of the 19,000 cases of swine flu reported between January 1 and August 13, 2017, most were reported in the western state of Maharashtra.
The largest number of deaths recorded until August 13 were reported from Maharashtra (409) and Gujarat (190), according to Health Ministry data.
At least 50 people had died of swine flu in Gujarat over the past week, taking the toll to 242, according to a bulletin issued by the state government on Friday.
Ahmedabad was the worst-affected city in Gujarat with 51 deaths, followed by Vadodara (32). Surat and state capital Gandhinagar reported nine deaths each.
The Saurashtra region with 11 districts reported 61 deaths.
The state government said it had ensured additional stocks of medicines and taken others steps, including setting up isolation wards in many hospitals, but the number of patients was rising steadily.
Uttar Pradesh meanwhile has issued a directive to schools not to hold morning prayers to avoid the spread of the disease.
The advisory, state health department officials said, has been issued to all schools, government and private, across the state.
Officials said that all “school managements have been asked, as a matter of abundant caution, to try and ensure that there are no large gatherings”.
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