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Over 1,300 swine flu cases last week, precautions advised

India continued to report an increase in swine flu cases, with 79 deaths and over 1,300 new patients in the last week, officials said Monday, emphasising precautions including vaccinations to prevent the disease.

According to health ministry officials, a total of 1,335 cases of swine flu infection were reported during last week, all of them being indigenous cases of infection.

"Till date, samples from 163,289 persons have been tested for Influenza A H1N1 in government laboratories and a few private laboratories across the country and 38,730 (23.7 percent) of them have been found positive," an official statement from the health ministry said.

The government is meanwhile emphasising on precautionary measures stressing specifically on the vaccinations.

"The highest number of casualties is of pregnant women and those suffering from other ailments," a health ministry official told.

The highest number of deaths (40) was reported from Maharashtra. The state has been reporting the largest number of infections of swine flu for more than a month with the number touching 411 this week.

The second largest number of cases were reported from Karnataka which had 291 cases and eight deaths, followed by Delhi which had 257 new cases and five deaths.

The second highest death toll, however, was from Gujarat which reported only 42 cases but 12 deaths in a week.

The number of cases remain to be high in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as well with 103 and 72 cases from the two states.

Kerala, which reported the maximum number of cases in the beginning of this season of swine flu in the country has, however, stabilised with only nine cases being reported last week.
"Precaution is needed and the ministry is doing its best to make the people aware about the methods to avoid swine flu," the health ministry official said.

"We have two indigenous vaccines. In addition to that, ads focusing on target group of the pregnant women and old or ailing persons are also being aired," he said.

Two vaccines, an injection and a nasal spray, have been launched by Zydus Cadila and Serum Institute of India recently while two more are awaited.

So far, swine flu has claimed 2,024 lives in India since its outbreak in May last year.

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