Swine flu claims six more lives in state

Six more swine flu deaths were reported on Wednesday, bringing the total number of H1N1 fatalities in the state this year to 54.

Meanwhile, a team of health officials, led by the health secretary, is heading to Rajkot, the epicentre of this year's outbreak, to review the situation. They will examine reports from more than two dozen medical teams that fanned out across seven districts earlier this week.

A total 277 people have been infected by the flu virus across seven districts since January 1, of whom 115 have been discharged from various hospitals upon recovery.

As of now, 108 patients are currently being treated.

The gathering of health authorities in Rajkot will culminate in a meeting of both government and private health experts at Rajkot Civil Hospital, and will attempt to draw up a "model treatment policy" for the state. "Sometimes people adhere to their own procedures, which leads to complications. The model treatment policy is expected to help control what are probably avoidable deaths," said an official, declining to be identified.

The meeting is expected to explore the cultural and behavioural factors that are suspected to be involved in this outbreak, especially since almost four-fifths of the cases have been reported from Saurashtra.

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