NEW DELHI: The death toll due to swine flu in the country has soared to 169 this year while 4,571 people have tested positive for the virus, with Rajasthan accounting for over 40 per cent of the cases.
According to data issued by the government, Rajasthan recorded 1,911 cases and 75 deaths till Monday followed by Gujarat with 600 cases and 24 deaths.
Delhi reported the third highest number with 532 people being infected with the H1N1 virus. No death has been reported due to the flu in the national capital so far.
Punjab has reported 27 deaths and 174 cases, followed by Haryana which recorded eight deaths and 372 cases. Maharashtra has recorded 82 cases and 12 deaths till Monday.
With the numbers going up, the health ministry recently held a meeting with the states and asked them to strengthen their surveillance for early detection.
It also asked them to keep beds reserved in hospitals to deal with acute cases. The official said states have not made any demand yet regarding drugs, diagnostic kits and other wherewithal to deal with the issue.
"There is sufficient stock of swine flu drug Oseltamivir and also there is no scarcity of N95 masks and diagnostic kits. Further, states have been asked to issue advisories to people mentioning the dos and don'ts," a senior health ministry official said.
Delhi government also has issued an advisory in view of the rising cases of swine flu.
The advisory states that seasonal influenza (H1N1) is a self-limiting viral, airborne disease spread from person-to-person, through large droplets generated by the act of coughing and sneezing, indirect contact by touching a contaminated object or surface (fomite transmission like telephone, cell phones, computers, door handles, doorbells, pens, toys etc) and close contact, including handshaking, hugging and kissing.
The dos and don'ts mention covering nose and mouth with disposable tissue or handkerchief while coughing or sneezing, washing hands with soap and water frequently, avoiding crowding places, maintaining isolation, drinking plenty of liquid and consulting doctor.
As per the advisory, one should not touch eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands or hug, kiss and shake hands while greeting or spit in public places, dispose of used napkin or tissue paper in open areas or smoke in public places.
Last year, the country reported 14,992 cases and 1,103 deaths due to the flu.