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Islamabad

MQ
Muhammad Qasim
January 14, 2018

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Preventive measures to avoid losses from flu virus

Preventive measures to avoid losses from flu virus

Islamabad : Influenza A H1N1 2009 infection, now known as seasonal flu is a major re-emerging and a highly contagious disease in global and current national scenario though the virus has become less virulent but it is still circulating and has the capacity to infect a large number of people and will continue for some years to come.

Seasonal influenza spreads easily and can cause infections through schools, barracks, nursing homes, offices, factories and hostels. Besides that the air travel remains a very important risk factor.

However by following preventive and control measures, the spread of the infection can be controlled to a significant level and the losses, it causes can be minimised.

Additional District Health Officer at ICT Health Department Dr. Muhammad Najeeb Durrani who is also a member of GOARN (Global Outreach Alert & Response Network) expressed this while talking to ‘The News’ on Saturday.

He said Influenza A H1N1 2009 infection may cause serious disease with complications in high risk groups, however he added that almost 90 per cent of all cases that do not fall in the high risk category recover without any medical intervention.

Like other flu strains, self-segregation and home based treatment is recommended for most of the cases of influenza A H1N1 however in case of developing any complications, a patient should immediately report to the nearest hospital, said Dr. Durrani.

Being an epidemiologist, he said community should be educated to know the respiratory protocols to respect others and cover their faces with tissue papers while sneezing or coughing to prevent others from infection. Patients should properly dispose of the infected or used tissues and wash hands frequently, he said.

Terming vaccination as the most effective way to prevent infection and severe outcomes caused by influenza viruses, he said safe and effective vaccines are available and have been used for more than 60 years.

Among healthy adults, influenza vaccine can provide reasonable protection. However among the elderly, influenza vaccine may be less effective in preventing illness but may reduce severity of disease and incidence of complications and deaths, said Dr. Durrani.

He said the vaccines available for influenza are valid for one year and are made available each year in the markets in the month of October. He said these vaccines are developed against the strains of human influenza viruses circulating in the world.

The clinicians should encourage all patients who have not yet received an influenza vaccine this season to be vaccinated against influenza, he said. However, he added, as the vaccine becomes available initially, a stepwise approach to vaccinate particular groups may be considered as more effective to minimize losses, the flu virus can cause.

All the health departments should immunize their health care workers as a first priority to protect the essential health infrastructure, he said.

Vaccination is necessary for specific groups that fall in the high risk population for increased morbidity and mortality including pregnant women, healthy children, healthy adults aged above 49 years and below 65 years, healthy adults aged above 65 years and infants with over six months of age and individuals with one or several chronic medical co-morbid conditions like heart, kidney, lung or liver disease or those with metabolic disorders like diabetes mellitus.

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