Swine flu continued to spread across the country as nine more deaths and 176 fresh cases of the viral disease were reported on Thursday.

Delhi reported the maximum with 68 cases followed by Haryana (14), Karnataka (32), Tamil Nadu (19) and Maharashtra (26).

Out of the nine deaths reported, five were from Maharashtra and four from Karnataka.

With the nine deaths recorded so far on Thursday, the total number of lives lost due to the viral infection in the country has reached 154. Till date, samples from 27,070 people have been tested for swine flu out of which 5,611 have tested positive.

Warning of a winter surge of swine flu in the South-East Asian region, the World Health Organization (WHO) had on Wednesday said the vaccine for the pandemic viral infection might not be available in time.

The WHO said it was providing assistance for increasing vaccine production capacity in South-East Asia. The organisation has transferred technology and development funds to three major vaccine manufacturers in the region.

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