With swine flu spreading fast in Jaipur, the Rajasthan Government on Monday stepped up efforts to control the virus and authorised 30 private hospitals here to treat patients showing symptoms of infection and established 17 new centres here to collect samples.

The death toll in the State due to swine flu has gone up to 17 with the lethal virus claiming the life of a 40-year-old man at Sawai Man Singh Hospital here on Sunday. The deceased, Dhani Ram, was admitted to the hospital on October 20 and was shifted to the intensive care unit on October 29 when his condition worsened.

According to State Medical and Health Department sources, 200 positive cases have been registered across the State and 169 of them are in Jaipur. A large number of the registered patients are youngsters and adolescents, even as the majority of schools in Jaipur have been closed following the sudden spurt in infection among the children.

Health Minister Aimaduddin Ahmed Khan visited the Swine Flu Centre established at S.M.S. Hospital on Monday to look at the arrangements for diagnosis and treatment of patients. The Minister said two private laboratories, in addition to a lab established at S.M.S. Hospital recently, had been given licence to conduct swab tests and efforts were underway to set up the similar laboratories at some district hospitals.