Indian swine flu death toll hits 100: govt

MUMBAI: A total of 100 people have died from swine flu in India since the first fatality was recorded one month ago, the government said.

The health ministry announced in a statement late on Monday that the most recent victims were four people in western Maharashtra state, which has seen 55 deaths from the A(H1N1) virus.

The official figures showed that there have been nearly 4,000 confirmed cases of the virus overall. More than 1,600 were in Maharashtra, with many in the city of Pune, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) southeast of Mumbai.

India’s first confirmed case of swine flu was in May. The first death was on August 3.

Fears about contracting swine flu led to huge queues forming outside government hospitals while the rising death toll led to the temporary closure of schools and cinemas in and around Mumbai and Pune.

All 22 international airports have been testing travellers arriving from countries affected by swine flu.

India’s health minister has warned that the country, home to 1.2 billion people, should brace for a ‘large-scale’ swine flu pandemic, as more indigenous cases of the virus were reported. -AFP

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