KARACHI: Five patients, who had reported at a private hospital in Clifton over the past few weeks, were tested positive for H1N1 flu, sources told Dawn on Saturday.
One of these patients, identified as a 35-year-old man admitted to the same hospital on Dec 27 last year and was treated in its infectious diseases’ ward, died on Jan 5.
The sources said that two patients infected with H1N1 strain were currently under treatment at the hospital while two others had been examined in its outpatient department.
No health department official was available for confirmation while the private hospital hadn’t specified the H1N1 flu as the cause of his death as the patient had some other health complications also.
Precautionary measures suggested against the highly contagious viral infection
Sources said four to five cases of H1N1 flu had been reported in Islamabad as well.
The H1N1 influenza — according to the WHO — is similar to seasonal influenza but has been characterised by higher activity during the northern summer season, higher fatality rates among healthy young adults and higher incidence of viral pneumonia.
Sharing his concern over flu cases, senior ENT specialist Dr Qaiser Sajjad of the Pakistan Medical Association said people must not get scared of H1N1 flu as it was like any other influenza strain.
“What is, however, important for the public is to know that influenza is a highly contagious viral infection and that increasing body’s immunity through preventive steps is the key to avoiding complications,” he said.
These measures included vaccination against influenza that should be done every year, intake of healthy balanced diet, seven to eight hours’ night sleep and drinking plenty of water.
In case of infection, patients should have complete bed rest and avoid hugging, shaking hands and sharing personal paraphernalia such as glasses, cups, towels, mobile phones, pens etc.
“Do not indulge in self-medication. Antibiotic drugs are not used in any viral disease and people should get treatment only from qualified doctors,” he explained.
The government should start a mass public awareness campaign and influenza patients should be kept in isolation wards. Provide clean and safe potable water to the patients and their attendants, he said.
“The PMA [Pakistan Medical Association] again demands the establishment of virology laboratories at all provincial capitals so that viral diseases such as H1N1 flu, dengue and other viruses could be diagnosed promptly,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2020