36 more deaths drove the swine flu toll past the 1700—mark while the total number of people suffering from the contagious disease reached close to 30,000 in the country this season.

Data collated by the Union Health Ministry today said that as on March 14, the disease has claimed the lives of 1,710 people and 29,558 have been infected by it across the country.

The Health Ministry had yesterday said that as on March 13, 1,674 people had perished across the country while the number of affected people was 29,103.

The death toll was highest in Gujarat where 382 people have perished to the disease while the number of affected people has breached the 6,000—mark and stands at 6,099.

375 people have died in Rajasthan which is also one of the most affected state. 6,179 people are suffering from the disease in the desert state.

The death toll in Maharashtra stands at 288 while 3,407 people are affected by the disease. In Madhya Pradesh, 237 people have perished and 1,866 are affected.

In Delhi, 11 deaths have been reported while the number of swine flu cases inched towards the 4,000—mark, as 3,958 people are affected by the disease.

The death toll in Telangana has increased to 72 while 51 people have died in Punjab. In Karnataka, the disease has claimed the lives of 71 people while 45 people have died in Haryana.

One more person perished to the disease taking the total death toll in West Bengal to 19 while the state of Uttar Pradesh has witnessed 35 deaths. In Jammu and Kashmir, the death of one more person has taken the toll to 16.

13 people have died in Tamil Nadu while 20 perished in Andhra Pradesh. The disease has also claimed the lives of 14 people in Chhattisgarh.

A study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has said the swine flu virus in India may have mutated to a more severe and infectious strain than the earlier H1N1 strains.