New seasonal influenza cases set alarm bells for health dept

KARACHI: As many as four people has been diagnosed with seasonal influenza(H1N1) in a private hospital of Karachi, has set alarm bells for Sindh health department.

At least 24 people died due to the deadly virus in Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan areas of Punjab province in the last 23 days while 114 other cases, including three doctors, were tested positive for seasonal influenza in southern part of province so far.

Director Health Services, Karachi, Dr Tahir Aziz Sheikh confirmed that four people were tested positive for seasonal influenza (H1N1) and other from influenza virus B in private sector hospital in a week. He urged the citizens to adopt preventive measures to protect themselves from influenza virus.

Dr Tahir said training of District Health Officers (DHOs), focal persons and heads of hospitals had already been completed to improve reporting of seasonal influenza cases in hospitals. He said sample of seasonal influenza cases would be dispatched to National Institute of Health(NIH) Islamabad for investigation if cases emerge from government sector hospitals of Karachi city.

He said DHOs had also been directed to launch massive public awareness campaign in there districts and patients suffering from influenza should be kept in isolation wards.

Experts said the disease is caused by influenza virus. Fever, sour throat, flue, head ach, body ache, cough, may be productive, and upper respiratory tract infection are the symptoms of the disease. if these symptoms are not treated properly this can lead to lower tract infection, laryngitis, bronchitis, lungs infection and pneumonia, which could become fatal for the patients.

The seasonal influenza is a viral disease that could spread from one person to other. The pre-cautionary measures should be taken by the general public to avoid complications.

There is no virology laboratory available in Sindh province for viral diseases like bird flu, swine flu, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever (EHF), dengue and other viral diseases. The viral labs provides a full range of diagnostic services for the detection and monitoring of viral illnesses in both the adult and paediatric population.