Nagpur: Another bout of summer rain in less than a month has spurred swine flu deaths across Maharashtra, with the toll touching 400 and the infection showing no signs of abating.
According to State Health officials, an average of five people are succumbing to the H1N1 virus every day with the number of recorded cases since the beginning of this year exceeding a staggering 4,480.
Of the 300-odd patients currently undergoing treatment at various hospitals across the State, at least 40 are deemed critical and have been put on ventilator support. More than 50 patients have died since the past week.
The prevailing optimism among embattled doctors that the onset of summer and the rise in temperatures would blunt the impact of the infection has been dampened by this unseasonal bout, which is expected to continue for a further 48 hours.
Western Maharashtra and the Vidarbha region recorded a total of four deaths on Sunday. Nagpur, the worst affected district has recorded more than 100 deaths, second only to Pune whose death toll has exceeded 85.
According to scientists at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), the H1N1 virus has become the predominant strain with other influenza viruses like H3N2 and Type B in scant evidence.
The death toll in three months is the highest recorded so far in State in the last five years, far exceeding those recorded during the 2009 flu pandemic.