Seasonal influenza rearing head in Multan

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Seasonal influenza rearing head in Multan

An outbreak of seasonal influenza is rearing its head in Multan claiming 27 lives in over a month according to the statistic from Punjab Health Department.  Seasonal Influenza , also known as Swine Flu (H1N1), has hit with full force this season.  Seasonal influenza usually spreads through contact with the bacteria discharged by an infected person’s coughing and sneezing.

An increasing number of cases are being reported from across the country, with a simultaneous increase in reports of flu-related fatalities. Hospital sources revealed that the influenza attack took the lives of the citizens during the past month and patients were in ICU due to their critical condition. A number of these cases are comprised of the previously intimidating H1N1, especially this year, which according to NIH, has seen hundreds tested positive for it in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Multan, Peshawar, Sargodha and Karachi, with an increasing number of cases resulting in death.

World Health Organization Pakistan (WHO) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), the leading multidisciplinary authority on public health-related issues, have taken note of the cases and are conducting investigations into flu deaths in Multan, which seems to have been hit harder than other cities in Punjab. A four-member team from World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Institute of Health (NIH) arrived in Multan to monitor seasonal influenza cases at Nishtar Hospital. The team has been deployed at Nishtar Hospital while a massive influenza vaccination drive has been launched in Multan region to control the epidemic.

Seasonal influenza can spread through contact with the bacteria discharged by an infected person’s coughing and sneezing. Pregnant women, senior citizens, and children are at higher risk of contracting it.

The officials reached Multan to get latest update on seasonal influenza cases. At least 56 suspected seasonal influenza patients had been reported from Nishtar Hospital so far, out of whom 12 died, the officials said.

2009 H1N1 Flu in Humans

The 2009 H1N1 virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. Although the 2009 H1N1 virus activity has declined after later October, still the 2009 human illness with 2009 H1N1 virus is ongoing in the world. In fact, the 2009 H1N1 virus is the predominant influenza virus in circulation so far during the 2009-2010 flu season. The United States experienced its first wave of 2009 H1N1 activity in the spring of 2009, followed by a second wave in the fall, with the number of people infected peaking at the end of October.

There are still uncertainties surrounding the rest of this flu season, including the possibility that seasonal influenza viruses will also spread during the winter as they usually do while 2009 H1N1 viruses continue to cause illness. In past pandemics, flu activity has occurred in waves and it’s possible that the world may experience another wave either later in the 2010 winter, or later. In the past, when new viruses have emerged to cause flu pandemics, the new virus has continued to spread among people. Experts believe it’s likely that the new 2009 H1N1 virus will continue to circulate among people for some time, perhaps as typical winter flu.