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Lahore

MQ
Muhammad Qasim
January 13, 2018

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New guidelines to treat flu

New guidelines to treat flu

Islamabad: Some 43 suspects of influenza A H1N1 have been reported from different localities of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi so far who were taken to various private and public sector hospitals but unfortunately, this year too, the treatment of this viral strain including oseltamivir and zanamivir are not available easily in most of the markets.

The number of patients contracting the flu virus subtype known as A (H1N1), the same viral strain that caused the 2009 global influenza epidemic, is continuously on the rise however medicine required to treat complicated cases of the infection is not available in all healthcare facilities in the region.

Data collected by ‘The Mews’ on Friday reveals that influenza A H1N1 has so far claimed four lives at public and private hospitals of the region including two lives at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, one at Holy Family Hospital and one at a private hospital in the federal capital.

According to latest guidelines, all flu patients with life-threatening symptoms should be given antiviral treatment though the medicine is not available in all markets, said Senior Consultant Intensive Care Medicine at PIMS Dr. Muhammad Haroon while talking to ‘The News’ on Friday.

He said a limited quantity of medicine is available at District Health Office Rawalpindi but the staff there provides medicine if the patient is tested positive for flu strain A H1N1. The test usually takes five days from National Institute of Health and a critical flu patient with respiratory distress and multi-organ dysfunction gets deteriorated to an irreversible septic phase and recovery from the stage may not be possible in most of the cases, he said.

He added that the use of oseltamivir in all patients with at least three or more of the following six conditions is recommended that include moderate to severe flu with or without high grade fever, evidence of multi-organ dysfunction with involvement of kidney, liver, heart and other organ systems, pre-existing respiratory diseases like Asthma, COPD, Interstitial lung disease, hypoxemia that is decreased oxygen in blood, hypercarbia means increasing carbon dioxide in blood and close contact with a patient already suffering from flu with positive serology for influenza virus.

Dr. Haroon said in almost all markets, oseltamivir is only available after being smuggled from India and pharmacies are charging the money according to their own choice. ‘The News’ tried to contact Executive District Officer (Health) Rawalpindi Dr. Sohail Ahmed repeatedly on Friday and left a message on his cell phone for his comments regarding number of patients in Rawalpindi and availability of drugs required for treatment and management of influenza A H1N1 but he did not make himself available for comments.

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