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Swine flu: 100 deaths in 3 days take toll to 585, masks and medicines in short supply

On February 15 alone, Rajasthan reported 12 deaths while there were eight fresh casualties each in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: February 17, 2015 12:55:33 pm
Swine flu, Swine flu deaths, Swine flu death toll, Swine Flu deaths Rajasthan, Swine flu rajasthan Children in an Auto rickshaw with their faces covered with masks as a preventive measure against Swine flu, which has claimed more than 19 lives in Ajmer, Rajasthan. (Source: PTI)

A hundred more deaths over the last three days have taken the swine flu death toll 585. While the Centre has ordered additional stocks of medicines and diagnostic kits, hospitals have started running out of Tamiflu and protective masks.

So far, 8,423 people have contracted swine flu this year in the country. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are the worst-affected states with respective tolls standing at 165, 144, 76 and 58, official figures said. Though Delhi and Tamil Nadu have reported a high incidence of swine flu cases, the death toll in the two states is relatively low due to high level of awareness and better health infrastructure.

Central teams, which have been sent to the worst-affected states like Rajasthan and Gujarat, have developed appropriate guidelines. “The government has already placed an order for enhancing stocks of diagnostic kits — for testing of 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.

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Meanwhile, sources in several hospitals say that masks and medicine are in short supply. “There are no masks in our hospital. Doctors are working at a very high risk. There is also hoarding of vaccines that has raised prices from the usual Rs 750 to Rs 1000,” said a source in a Delhi government hospital. Private hospitals too have started refusing patients citing Tamiflu shortage. A patient who was diagnosed at Max Saket was told to procure the medicine from outside. A hospital spokesperson when contacted said that she was not aware of any shortage.

Flu fear: AMU suspends classes till February 25

With more cases of swine flu being reported from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in the last 24 hours, authorities on Monday suspended all classes in the university and its affiliated schools till February 25.

The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of top officials presided over by Acting Vice-Chancellor Brig S Ahmad Ali.  All events in AMU, including seminars, workshops and meetings of executive council scheduled during this period, have been postponed till further orders as a precautionary measure.

However, all offices, including academic departments, hospitals and other institutions will continue to function and teachers would report to duty as usual, AMU spokesperson Rahat Abrar said in a statement.

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