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Guj govt napping amid flu outbreak.

WITH 1,781 cases and 150 deaths as on Monday and ticking, the swine flu spread in Gujarat is getting from bad to worse even as Chief Minister Anandiben Patel insists there is no reason to declare it an epidemic and that her government is handling it effectively.

People from all walks of life, including an Ahmedabad- based industrialist's daughter, an eminent physician, an ENT surgeon and two doctors of the government kidney hospital in Ahmedabad, have been affected. Cases have been reported from more than 20 of the 33 districts in the state, while the desert district of Kutch and Ahmedabad remain the worst hit.

The number of patients infected by H1N1 virus since January 1 this year has crossed an all- time high of 1,682 in 2010 though the toll then was a whopping 363. Swine flu cases are being reported from Gujarat since 2009 when 125 died from a total of 697 patients.

Mortality rate A health department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the chief minister refuses to recognise this year's spread as an epidemic in view of " the mortality rate which was much more in 2010 than now". The number of cases might have increased this time but much less people have died, the official added, glossing over the fact that nearly 1,800 people have been affected in less than two months of 2015. According to Anandiben Patel, " Swine flu cases are on the rise not only in Gujarat but across the entire country.

Every individual should take care of himself." She says the government, on its part, has been doing everything possible to reduce the casualties.

The chief minister said: " We have provided all facilities and our hospitals, be it in Ahmedabad, Kutch, Surat or elsewhere, are fully equipped. There are adequate stocks of medicines also while a state- wide awareness drive is continuing to ensure people take necessary precautions." Meanwhile, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Shanker Chaudhary on Sunday visited the worst- affected Kutch district and said that the government had decided to distribute Tamiflu tablets free in private hospitals as well.

Health officials claimed that the awareness drive across the state had covered nearly four crore people of the total over six crore population, adding that 692 patients had been cured so far.

In Ahmedabad, which has also been receiving patients from outside the city and the state, the government has started a toll- free 24- hour swine flu helpline ( 1800 2332 510) to respond to public queries about the disease. This is besides a round- the- clock outdoor patient department ( OPD) started at the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation- run VS Hospital.

Officials said they had conducted a door- to- door survey of over 3.70 lakh households in Ahmedabad during the past two days and referred as many as 98 cases to urban health centres for detailed medical tests.

With 1,781 cases and 150 deaths, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel insists there is no reason to declare it an epidemic Kutch & Ahmedabad are the worst- hit areas in the state

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 17, 2015
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