Swine flu claimed 31 more lives raising the number of dead to 774 and people affected by it inching closer to 13,000 even as the Government on Saturday asked state drug controllers to ensure that chemist shops display prominently availability of medicines for its treatment.
“The total number of persons affected due to swine flu is 12,963 while the total number of deaths was 774 till February 20 this year,” a Health Ministry source said.
Union Health ministry figures till February 20 said that the death toll in Rajasthan reached 206 while the number of affected persons were the highest 4,185. In Gujarat it stood at 186 while 2,637 persons have been affected by it. A total of 103 people have perished in Madhya Pradesh while 92 have died in Maharashtra.
Telangana has reported 51 deaths while Karnataka has reported 33 deaths. Punjab and Haryana have reported 31 and 20 deaths respectively. Delhi has reported nine deaths.
“To create awareness in public about the availability of the drugs, you are requested to direct chemists shops in your states and UTs who have been granted license to sell, stock and distribute by retail drugs “specified under Schedule X to display the description ‘Swine Flu Medicine Available Here’ in conspicuous manner in a prominent place in the respective shop,” the letter written by Drug Controller General of India G N Singh to drug controllers of all states and UTs said.
In another letter, the DGCI directed the state drug controllers to set up a “Swine Flu Drugs Availability Monitoring Cell” with a designated officer to ensure close monitoring of availability of drugs and vaccines.
The cell shall function round-the-clock with necessary helpones to ensure the availability of drugs, vaccines and kits, the letter said.
The Government has also asked the drug controllers to direct their inspectorate officers to conduct surveillance inspection in chemist shops to ensure fair availability and distribution of drugs and vaccines.
The letter also said that in the wake of the swine flu outbreak, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is continuously engaged in monitoring the availability of drugs, vaccines and diagnostic kits while the manufacturers and importers have also been sensitized to take all necessary measures in this regard.
Health Minister J P Nadda said Government was taking all necessary steps to deal with swine flu. Arrangements for vaccines and necessary treatment to deal with swine flu and Japanese encephalitis were available at district hospitals all over the country, he told reporters in Siddharthnagar in UP.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has issued show cause notices to two private labs for charging more than the specified limit of Rs 4,500 for conducting swine flu test.
The Delhi government said that the situation was under control and sufficient stock of medicines for treating the disease was available and there was no cause for panic.
Thirteen more people have tested positive for swine flu in Kashmir during the last 24 hours, taking the number of those infected to 109.
Fifty-seven new cases of swine flu have been detected in Uttar Pradesh during the last 24 hours, taking the number of those affected to 250.
Five more people have tested positive for swine flu in West Bengal taking the total number of such cases in the state to 63.