India is facing a spike in dengue fever, the potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease.
There have been 12,500 cases since September, compared with 2,859 in the same period last year, and the virus has killed 77 people in southern India this year compared with 33 last year.
Health chiefs are now looking at every way to curb the spread of the disease - even urging children to wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts for three months to limit exposure to mosquito bites.
"It is not a panic situation, but we want to ensure that we take adequate prevention measures," the health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
Dengue fever is caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms include fever, body ache and dehydration. There is no approved vaccine to prevent it, and no specific treatment.
Most cases are reported in October, just after the monsoon rains when the weather starts cooling, but reports of patients with dengue have been coming in from the southern states since last month.
The government has announced a number of initiatives to better equip hospitals in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and the union territory of Pondicherry.
The problem has always existed in Delhi, although fewer cases have been reported this year: 400 so far this season, down from 450 from October last year.
"Most of our beds are filled with dengue patients," said Vivek Nangia, a doctor at Fortis hospital in Delhi. "Lots of patients are coming with dengue symptoms every day."
Mr Azad said government and private hospitals would be equipped with the materials needed for testing patients. He also released funds to spray pesticides in mosquito breeding areas.
The minister asked schools to allow pupils, especially boys, to amend their uniform requirements because children are "most susceptible", he said. In Chennai, for example, where it is hot and humid throughout the year, school uniforms for boys are usually shorts and short-sleeved shirts.