Swine flu: States not doing enough, says Azad

Swine flu: States not doing enough, says Azad Chennai/New Delhi: A middle-aged man and a 26-year-old woman have succumbed to swine flu in Chennai and badly-hit Bangalore, raising the countrywide toll to 46, even as Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday accused state governments of not doing enough to contain the pandemic.

The man, whose name was not immediately available, died in Chennai last night, while the woman, identified as Lakshmi, also fell to the infection also last night in Bangalore.

As many as 159 fresh flu cases were reported from various states till yesterday, taking the total number of those afflicted by the disease to 2,401, a Health Ministry official said.

With the deaths today in Chennai, the flu toll has climbed to 46 with Maharashtra accounting for 22, the highest number of fatalities, followed by Karnataka with 10. Five deaths have taken place in Gujarat, three in Tamil Nadu, two each in Delhi and Chhattisgarh and one each in Kerala and Uttarakhand.

Lashing out at state governments, Azad said they have "forgotten their duty" even though the Centre was stretching itself to the maximum limit to contain the disease.

Addressing state health ministers at a review meeting of the National Rural Health Mission in New Delhi, the Minister said, "We (Centre) can go to a point, don't expect us to go beyond a point.

"This is the maximum limit we could stretch ourselves to. Beyond this the state governments should shoulder their responsibility which they haven't done," Azad said.

Azad stressed that it was the Centre which was doing everything, including contact tracing, procuring medicines, looking for vaccines and training doctors.

While the Central officers were working so hard, he said, "I would expect state level officer to at least sit till 10 pm and give some report and do something. It is because of our intervention at the national level that we have succeeded so far.

"There is a limit for the Ministry of Health to do this contact tracing and treating. I would request all the ministries and secretaries to be active and identify the hospitals," he said.

Soon after Azad finished his speech, Gujarat Health Minister J N Vyas remarked that as a federal minister, he should not have made the remarks against state governments.

To this, Azad replied that he was not naming any state and some states had indeed done good work.

A Health Ministry official said in Delhi that Mumbai reported 18 new flu cases yesterday, Pune (66), Nashik (3), Aurangabad (6), Dhule (4), Osmanabad (2), Washim (1), Solapur (1), Beed (1), Parbhani (1), Chennai (12), Chengalpattu (1), Delhi (11), Bangalore (13), Davangere (3), Hubli (2), Gadag (1), Vishakhapatnam (3), Idukki (1), Thiruvananthapuram (1), Ernakulam (1), Udaipur (3), Noida (1), Bareilly (1), Rohtak (1) and Raipur (1).

Out of the 11 cases reported in Delhi, a 25-year-old woman had visited Bangkok. While one person from Pune had travelled to the UK, another patient from Vishakhapatnam had travel history of having visited the UK and transited through Dubai, he said.

A total of 12,604 persons have been tested so far for the virus out of which 2,401 have been found to be positive for swine flu. As many as 797 people have been identified through screening at entry points and 1740 through contact tracing, he said.

Bureau Report