India has recorded an alarming spike in swine flu (H1N1) this year, with 6,701 cases and 226 deaths confirmed till February 3, compared to 798 cases and 68 deaths during the corresponding period in 2018.
The sharpest spike was in the week ending February 3, which reported close to a third (2,101) of the total cases. Rajasthan alone confirmed 507 cases and 49 deaths in one week, followed by Delhi with 456 cases, shows data from across India (except West Bengal, which last sent updated data on August 18, 2018).
Delhi has reported no deaths.
The health ministry has begun fortnightly video-conferencing with states, with a team from the National Centre for Disease Control working closely with Rajasthan to contain infection through a statewide campaign to diagnose and monitor all cases of fever, especially in rural areas where awareness is low.
Union health secretary Preeti Sudan held a high powered meeting with the senior ministry officials to review the preparedness and action taken to deal with spike in H1N1 cases on Wednesday. Some of the measures included enhanced surveillance across states and support for diagnostic tests.
Seasonal influenza, including H1N1, infects 3 to 5 million people worldwide and kills between 290,000 and 650,000 of them each year, estimates the World Health Organisation.