The swine flu menace struck with a vengeance as 100 more deaths were reported across India in the last three days. The worrying turn of events prompted the Centre to order additional stocks of medicines and diagnostic kits.
The toll now rises to 596 with the release of the latest official data.
A total of 8,423 people have contracted the H1N1 virus in the country. Rajasthan has been the worst-hit state with 165 casualties reported so far, followed by Gujarat (144), Madhya Pradesh (76) and Maharashtra (58), official figures said.
On 15 February itself 12 people died from the dreaded illness in Rajasthan, while Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat reported eight deaths each, reports Hindustan Times.
Interestingly the death toll in Delhi and Tamil Nadu is low despite the two states having reported a high number of cases. The levels of awareness and advanced health facilities have been attributed as the reasons for it.
Punjab is top of the list as far as the ratio of number of deaths to those affected by the illness is concerned. Of the 68 people who have contracted the virus in the state, 25 have lost their lives.
Central teams have been sent to the worst-affected states, say health ministry officials.
"The government has already placed an order for enhancing stocks of diagnostic kits - for testing for the H1N1 virus - to be supplied to the lab network under Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.
"To enhance the level of preparedness, additional stocks of the drug Oseltamivir and 10,000 N-95 masks are also being procured," says an official statement.