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Swine flu: H1N1 cases hover near 30K mark

Time has come to press the panic button as the swine flu death toll in the country is all set to surpass the 2010 figures, the year in which influenza flu was declared as pandemic by World Health Organisation (WHO). According to latest data collated by Union Health Ministry, 1,731 deaths have been reported till March 15, which were just 32 less than total deaths reported in 2010. The number struck by the disease on Monday inched close to the 30,000-mark, surpassing 27,236 cases reported during 2009.

In spite of the alarming figures, the Health Ministry is still undecided whether to declare the disease pandemic or not. “Given the fact that influence of swine flu is effective in India only and not at global level, so as per the WHO parameters H1N1 influenza can’t be declared as epidemic,” a senior health ministry official said, adding that WHO has declared swine flu as seasonal influenza.

However, health ministry secretary BP Sharma on Monday held a video-conferencing with swine flu hit states to take stock of steps being taken by them to contain the disease. The health secretary held meeting with officials of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh West Bengal, Haryana, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

The death toll was highest in Gujarat where 387 fatalities have been reported while the number of affected people has reached 6,148. Swine flu has killed 378 persons in Rajasthan which is another badly affected state where 6,202 people are suffering from the disease. The death toll in Maharashtra inched towards the 300-mark as 293 have died while 3,483 people are affected by the disease. In Madhya Pradesh, 239 people have died and 1,909 are affected.
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