Pune/Nashik: Swine flu pandemic toll on Wednesday rose to 15 with three more persons - two in Pune and one in Nashik - succumbing to the H1N1 virus.
29 year-old Shrawani Deshpande and 33 year-old Balu Kuland died due to the disease in Pune, taking the toll in the worst hit city in Maharashtra to 8, officials said.
Nashik registered its first flu death when 38-year-old doctor Rupesh Gangurde died of the viral infection at the Nashik civil hospital on Wednesday morning.
He was admitted to a private hospital on Monday after he complained of vomiting and fever. His blood sample was sent to Pune and he tested positive for H1N1.
So far, the flu has claimed a total of 15 lives - one each in Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Thane, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram, two in Mumbai and eight in Pune.
With the infection spreading fast, the Maharashtra government ordered closure of schools and colleges in Mumbai for a week and theatres and multiplexes for three days.
The decision was taken as part of precautionary measures to check the infection, a senior state government official said.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena and NCP appealed to people to observe ‘dahi-handi’ programmes on the occasion of Janamasthami on a low key to check the virus from spreading.
Swine flu cases countrywide have crossed the 1,000 mark with 119 fresh cases eported on Tuesday.
In Delhi, two children of Food and Civil Supplies minister Haroon Yusuf have tested positive for swine flu and have been quarantined at home. Three other patients with swine flu symptoms have been admitted to the RML hospital in the capital.
With spiraling cases of swine flu countrywide, central teams have been dispatched to all states and Union Territories after health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad chaired a meeting of 35 additional secretaries and joint secretaries drawn from various ministries.
He briefed the teams personally on Tuesday before they were dispatched to the state capitals.
While 14 additional secretaries would go to the big states, the joint secretaries would go to other states and Union Territories. The teams would stay there for two-three days and would return by 15 August.
Azad also spoke to all chief ministers and told them to step up preparedness.
The health minister requested the chief ministers to chair the first meeting of these teams so that on-the-spot decisions are taken for swift implementation, a senior health ministry official said.
The Central teams will discuss with state governments new guidelines issued by the ministry of health and family welfare with record to capacity building issues such as identification of labs for testing and hospitals in private and public sectors for screening, diagnosis and treatment of swine flu patients.