India hit by flu outbreak

India hit by flu outbreak

In India, a seasonal outbreak of influenza has been spreading across the country. Hundreds of people have died of the illness so far this year. The health ministry is calling for people to stay alert for possible infection.

India's National Centre for Disease Control says that as of Sunday, 226 people had died and more than 6,700 had tested positive for the swine-origin virus H1N1.

The worst-hit area is the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where 85 people have died and more than 2,300 are infected.

The winter there has been colder than usual, which is said to have worsened the outbreak. Local media say the health ministry has dispatched a public health team to Rajasthan to assess the situation and provide assistance.

Hospitals are preparing quarantine areas to prevent the disease from spreading, but now medical workers are also becoming infected.

The symptoms caused by the H1N1 virus are similar to other influenzas, such as high fevers and sore throats.

The health ministry is urging people to take sufficient hygiene measures and avoid crowded places.