Two women are feared to have died of swine flu, and seven others are being treated at an isolated ward at Nishtar Medical Hospital. Blood samples of seven patients, including the deceased, have been sent to the National Institute of Health for analysis. The DCO and executive health district officer say the patients died of the seasonal flu.
Doctors treating 55-year old lady Aneeqa Bibi said the woman was admitted to Ward 27 two days ago. They said they suspected that patient was suffering from swine flu and sent her blood samples for tests. They said the woman died before the results became available. They said one 28-year-old Sadia, had also died of similar symptoms.
They said Ahsan, 36, a resident of Burewala, had been diagnosed with swine flu after blood test confirmed this. Two-year old Mansoor, hailing from Waziristan, and a five-year-old boy from Kot Addu was in a critical condition after they were brought to the hospital with symptoms of swine flu. Doctors said the children were being kept in an isolated ward for treatment.
They said four women, suspected to be suffering from the strain, were admitted to Ward 29. These include 53-year-old Shahnaz, a resident of Muzaffargarh, 52-year-old Azra, a resident of Bosan Road Multan, 30-year-old Nosheen, a resident of Mumtazabad and 40-year-old Farzana, a resident of Sheikhupura.
They said blood samples of these seven patients had been sent to the National Institute of Health for laboratory tests.
Meanwhile, the district coordination officer and the Health EDO held a press conference where they denied these reports.
“Those who died at the hospital had the seasonal flu,” said EDO Iftikhar. He said Nishtar Hospital was fully equipped to deal with seasonal flu cases. “It is wrong to say that people are dying of swine flu when they were suffering from different disease.”
He said the Livestock Department had declared poultry samples it had tested free from bird flu. He urged people to cook chicken properly before consuming it. He said he believed the poultry farm industry “was out of danger.” “There is no danger of swine flu in the city,” said DCO Zahid Saleem Gondal.
He said symptoms of the seasonal flu were similar to swine flu. “This is why there is so much confusion about the disease,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2016.