A West Bengal minister is stated to be in a critical condition after being struck by swine flu as six fresh cases of the infection were reported today taking the total number of those being afflicted to 12 in the city.

West Bengal Water Resources Minister Nandagopal Bhattacharya has been diagnosed with the infection, State health department’s nodal officer for swineflu Asit Biswas said here.

Health Minister Suryakanta Mishra said the throat swab of Bhattacharya, already admitted in a city clinic with respiratory distress and brain haemorrhage, has tested positive.

The Minister’s office in the State secretariat said his condition was critical. “His swab was found positive by the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases,” his office said.

Five of those infected in the city proper and Dum Dum in the northern outskirts have been admitted to various hospitals including the State—run I D hospital at Beliaghata.

The swine flu patients have been kept in isolation wards. “The condition of one of them is stated to be critical,” Mr. Biswas said.

Health Department sources said none of the affected was reported to have visited any foreign country. A 100-bed isolation ward has been set up at the ID hospital.

In 2009, 135 persons were affected by swineflu in the State, but no one died.

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