A seasonal viral influenza outbreak claims 17 lives in Pakistan

January 29th, 2018 | by MuslimScience
A seasonal viral influenza outbreak claims 17 lives in Pakistan

Islamabad – A recent spell of viral influenza has so far claimed 17 lives, in various cities of Punjab province. Multan has so far been the hardest hit region as four people reportedly died during the past week bringing the total tally to 29 in about 40 days.

The endemic influenza-A (H1N1 pdm09) circulation severely impacted Southern Punjab and adjoining areas where, according to the latest WHO’s findings almost 307 cases tested positive for the disease. Hospitals and treatment centers in Pakistan’s capital – Islamabad and neighboring Rawalpindi have reported rising levels of hospitalization and ICU admissions as compared to the previous season. In total, around 1,470 suspected cases of influenza-A have been reported from different parts of the country during the ongoing season.

However, despite reports of a flu epidemic sweeping the country, the Aga Khan University Laboratory reports no unusual activity in this year’s viral breakout. According to them, there hasn’t been an increase in rates of flu positivity from previous years, and that the current trends in positivity of samples indicates usual flu activity in the country.

Despite that, epidemiologists and health care professionals have called for dispensing timely and critical information to the masses especially during the Jan/Mar time period when reported cases are the highest.

According to WHO, seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses. It is easily transmittable and can affect people in any age group. In temperate climates seasonal epidemics are more prevalent during winters.

Some of the safety measures issued by WHO and the National Institute of Health (NIH) include basic preventive measures such as good hygiene, regular handwashing, avoiding large gatherings and covering the cough and sneeze as it  can significantly help to control the spread of disease. Patients are also advised to seek help from a practitioner if signs of the flu arise. Some experts also suggest getting flu shots for those who are at high risk of contracting the disease. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu shot for everyone older than 6 months of age.



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