Several people have died of swine flu in Andhra Pradesh and there has been a spike in the number of swine flu cases in Telangana as well. In the last seven weeks, 12 deaths were reported in Andhra Pradesh with Kurnool, Chittoor including the temple town of Tirupati being the worst-affected areas.
Screening and testing centres have been set up at railway stations, bus stands and Visakhapatnam airport.
In Kurnool district, six deaths, including two on Monday, were reported while five died in Chittoor.
Telangana has reported three-fold spurt in swine flu cases over last month and Gandhi Hospital, the nodal centre to provide treatment for H1N1 patients, is running to its capacity. A new swine flu nodal centre has opened at Osmania hospital.
Both the Telugu states are trying to create extra capacity for isolation of those infected so that the spread can be contained. Multiple screening and testing centres are being set up at bus stations, railway stations and airport to increase awareness and identify those who need to be quarantined.
Experts say the infections peaked in October because there was a huge number of gatherings during Dussehra that facilitated spread of the air-borne virus.
As many as 542 people have died of swine flu so far this year with Maharashtra alone accounting for almost 50 per cent of deaths. Maharashtra saw 217 deaths out of 1,793 cases reported till October 14, said a government official.
It was followed by Rajasthan where 191 people died after H1N1 complications out of 1,912 cases during the same period. In Gujarat, 45 died out of 1,478 reported cases, the official said.
Delhi has recorded one death and 111 cases till October 12, the official said.
The country has registered 6,803 swine flu cases so far this year. Over 38,000 cases were reported last year of which 2,270 people died due to the H1N1 infections.
Union Health Minister JP Nadda has directed health officials to ensure continuous monitoring of cases. He instructed that early detection, reporting and proper categorisation of patients is critical for seasonal influenza management. The Minister has also directed the states to ensure that there are sufficient supplies of drugs and testing kits and all cases which require hospitalization are monitored intensively both at district and state level so that fatalities can be avoided.
Swine flu or H1N1 is caused by the influenza A virus. High fever, persistent cough, cold, sore throat, nausea, severe respiratory distress, breathlessness headache and vomiting are the most common symptoms of the flu. A throat swab and culture is the test done to determine whether someone is H1N1 positive.
(With inputs from PTI)
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