KP health dept issues influenza advisory amid fears of high incidence.

PESHAWAR -- With the onset of the winter season, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has issued an influenza advisory asking district hospitals to take steps for the prevention, control and management of the contagious respiratory illness.

It said children under two years of age, the people aged 65 years, and patients of chronic ailments were vulnerable to influenza.

According to a report prepared by the health department's Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System, a total of 6,617 patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) has so far been recorded in the province during the current year.

Officials said the department had issued advisory at the recommendation of the National Institute of Health Islamabad to all district administration, district health officers and medical superintends to take preventive steps against the disease.

Asks hospitals to take steps for prevention, control of contagious illness

They said if someone was sick or had been in close contact with persons having ILI, he or she should be go for frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water and covering mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing, taking rest and avoiding crowds.

The officials said flu viruses were continuously changing with a likelihood of emergence of new flu viruses every year, which made it an unpredictable disease with varying extent of spread, timing, severity and length of the season.

They said an upsurge of cases occurred in the winter season as when the temperature fell in December through and February.

The officials said higher ILI incidence had been observed with increased flu-associated hospitalisations and deaths reported in young and old age groups. They said of total of 29,424 influenza tests conducted in last one year in the country, 985 turned positive.

According to the advisory, health facilities should stay alert for timely preventive and control measures as the seasonal influenza viruses can cause mild to severe illness, particularly in the high-risk individuals and viruses spread from person to person through sneezing, coughing or touching contaminated surfaces, they said.

'Elderly, young children, obese and immuno-compromised and people with chronic health...

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