ISLAMABAD : Influenza A H1N1 infection, now known as seasonal flu has started hitting population in this region of the country including twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi while the number of reported deaths caused by complications along with flu has become four.
Data collected by ‘The News’ has revealed that on Saturday, as many as five seasonal flu patients were undergoing treatment in intensive care unit on ventilators at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences of which one has been confirmed positive for the infection, once known as swine flu.
The five patients suffering from severe difficulty in breathing include 34 years old Asma Faisal, a resident of Abbottabad, Asif Jamshed from Kotli, AJK, Maria Khalid from Attock, Doctor Rehman from Okara and a local patient Amir Ali. All these patients have been put on ventilators for management while Asma has been confirmed as seasonal flu patient, said Deputy Director at PIMS Dr. Wasim Khawaja while talking to ‘The News’ on Saturday. He added that the PIMS has so far received 10 suspected patients of seasonal flu with complications of which two patients have been confirmed positive for the infection while eight patients are suspected. All these patients were received in critical condition, he said. It is important that seasonal flu is self limiting in most of the cases and majority of patients start feeling well in a week or so though few cases may develop pneumonia that rapidly progresses to life-threatening Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and if not treated on time in intensive care, it may cause death.
Dr. Khawaja said PIMS has been receiving a significant number of patients with flu. Majority of these cases can be termed as probable but their samples are not sent for swine flu tests because they do not present complications, he said.
Meanwhile it is important that two patients with complications of seasonal flu have died at Holy Family Hospital and one at Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Rawalpindi while one patient died of the infection at a private hospital in the federal capital. Many general practitioners practicing in the twin cities and their outskirts expreseed to ‘The News’ that they have been receiving a good number of patients with seasonal flu though they refer patients with complications to the public sector tertiary care hospitals.
It is also important that the government authorities have not been sharing data about seasonal flu patients properly and district health office Islamabad do not have any updated data regarding number of seasonal flu patients in the federal capital nor it is being notified of the areas where the infection is hitting population severely. The healthcare facilities are receiving significant number of seasonal flu patients and the district health office is running awareness campaign on its prevention but still we are not being notified of the cases, said District Health Officer Islamabad Dr. Muhammad Najeeb Durrani while talking to ‘The News’.