KARACHI: The latest reports on deaths of 12 people in parts of Punjab due to seasonal influenza has worried the relevant government quarters in Sindh while the professional bodies of medical practitioners are equally concerned asking the governments in centre and provinces to take rigorous measures to save lives.

Officials in the Sindh health ministry said they were taking all possible measures to ensure that no such incidence could emerge in the province, where similar situations had been reported in the recent past.

“No such danger is in Sindh,” said a senior official in the health ministry. He added, however, all relevant district authorities across the province had been asked to ensure that affected people get proper medical care on time.

“All the district health officers have already been directed on these lines and they are vigilant,” said the official.

Besides, the officials claimed, the authorities were there to create awareness among the general public of the situation.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) stated it was ‘extremely concerned’ over the deaths due to seasonal influenza in Multan and other parts of Punjab.

“This disease is caused by influenza virus. Fever, sour throat, flue, headache, body ache, cough, may be productive, and upper respiratory tract infection are the symptoms of the disease,” said Dr Qaisar Sajjad, PMA secretary general while speaking to Dawn. “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 patients.”

Experts said influenza was a viral disease and it could spread from one person to other. They recommended for certain precautionary measures which should be taken to avoid complications.

“People should take fresh healthy and balanced diet; take seven to eight-hour sleep, plenty of water and complete bed rest,” said Dr Sajjad.

Besides, he added, tissue papers should be used to clean nose, and patients should not hug or shake hands with others, do not share glasses, plates, cups, towels, mobile phones, etc. Besides, the patients should not indulge in self medication, do not use antibiotic in any viral disease, and, should get treatment only from qualified doctors.

The PMA suggested the governments to launch massive public awareness campaigns.

“Patients suffering from influenza should be kept in isolation wards.”

The PMA official said the government should adopt strict preventive measures to stop spread of the viral disease in other parts of the country. Kits to diagnose the influenza virus should be available at hospitals.

“PMA reiterates that virology labs should be established at least at all provincial capitals so that viral diseases like swine flu, dengue, chikungunya, Zika virus and Congo-Crimean virus, can be diagnosed promptly.”

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2018

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