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Two more swine flu cases in Pindi

March 24, 2013

LAHORE, March 23: Two more patients -- a 12-year-old girl and a woman in Rawalpindi -- have contracted Swine Flu (H1 N1 influenza) as their throat swaps sent to the National Institute of Health, Islamabad for analysis confirmed the virus on Saturday.

A senior official of the health department told Dawn that the swine flu virus had taken lives of four patients including Dr Matloob Alam, who was a surgeon in Gujjar Khan, since January. All patients died at the Holy Family Hospital.

Tasleem Bibi, 40, of Pirwadhai Road (Rawalpindi) and Shahnaz, 35, wife of Zakir Khan (Azad Kashmir) died on Jan 22, Nusrat Bibi (Rawalpindi) on Jan 29 and Dr Matloob on March 19.

Nusrat Bibi was seven-month pregnant when she complained of symptoms of the swine flu virus and was immediately admitted to the isolation ward of the said hospital.

About the two fresh cases of the influenza virus, the official said, teenaged girl Noor Fatima is daughter of Dr Matloob Alam while the woman was identified as 45-year-old Almas Talib. Almas was tested positive for the influenza B virus.

Both patients have been shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the health facility. Matloob’s elder brother, Mahmood Alam, had also been tested positive for the disease and was under treatment at the same health facility. The doctors had suspected him as a swine flu patient when he was looking after his brother Dr Mahmood at the hospital during his treatment.

He said the throat swaps of a total of seven suspected patients were sent to the NIH, Islamabad for Real Time PCR tests on March 22.

According to the reports issued by the NIH Islamabad on Saturday, the results of two Holy Family Hospital doctors Dr Lubna and Dr Athar and Dr Matloob’s another nine-year-old daughter, Nimra, were negative.

Dr Lubna and Dr Athar were among those who had provided treatment to their colleague, Dr Matloob, at the hospital.

Earlier, the hospital had sent throat swaps of two staff nurses and ward boys who had also been looking after Dr Matloob. The reports were negative.

He said the health department had decided to keep immediate family members of the patients under observation.

The official said the authorities had purchased anti-viral drug to fight swine flu which was sufficient to provide treatment to 100 patients. “The cost of each drug is Rs200,” he said.

Answering a question, he said the swine flu cases emerged usually in peak winter (November and December). However, the emergence of the cases in March had surprised the health authorities, he added.