As swine flu deaths across the country keep making headlines, virologists have said that this year, of all those tested, almost one in every four have been positive.
According to this Times of India report, "Laboratories testing samples for the swine flu virus have reported an alarmingly high positivity rate of 24%."
This report comes in the backdrop of the swine flu death toll crossing 620 on Tuesday.
The positivity rate, according to the Times of India report, is higher than what it was in 2010, when it was at a pandemic stage. It says, "The (Mumbai) civic-run laboratory at Kasturba Hospital observed that the positivity rate then in 2010 was 21.9%."
Owing to the disease rapidly spreading, drug authorities on Tuesday asked chemists to stock Tamiflu drug but not sell it without prescription.
With the death toll rising, the number could surpass that of 2013, which had reported 699 deaths. 218 people had died of swine flu in 2014. In 2012, there were 405 deaths.
The virus claimed 39 more lives between 15-16 February taking the total total number of deaths this year to 624. The number of people affected by the flu is 9,311 this year so far, much more than past few years.
Health Minister JP Nadda had chaired a high-level review meeting in New Delhi to take stock of the crisis as officials assessed reports from states and measures to deal with the infectious disease, sources said.
As reports emerged about shortage of medicines at some places, Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) wrote to over 10,000 chemists across the country to stock Oseltamivir drug but not sell it without prescription, they said.
It also asked chemists to keep a photocopy of the prescriptions on which they have sold the drug.
The death toll in Rajasthan and Gujarat — the two worst affected states — stood at 176 and 150 respectively on 16 February. In Rajasthan, the maximum number of 30 deaths was reported in capital Jaipur.
Eighty-one people have died in Madhya Pradesh, where the highest number of causality, 15, due to infection of H1N1 virus was reported in Indore.
With PTI inputs
Updated Date: Feb 18, 2015 20:25:09 IST