KARACHI - A Bangladeshi scientist has cautioned that the Swine Flu may hit any country and called for mass awareness programmes. The Bangladeshi scientist, Prof Dr Nurul Kabir, is currently working at Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), Karachi University (KU). He was delivering a lecture at the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, said a statement issued here Sunday. Dr. Kabir asked the authorities in Pakistan to take early preventive measures against the Swine Flu (H1N1) that may hit any country in the world, as it has been found contagious and deadly disease. He also stressed the need for developing co-ordination among the scientists, doctors and the government to deal with any untoward situation. To organise mass awareness programmes about the fatality, nature, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the disease was the hard-pressed demand of the time, he added. The statement further said that Prof Kabir recalled that in 1918 Swine Flu, which was known as Spanish flu, killed millions of people worldwide, that would be the highest casualty ever for a pandemic in the 6000 years of human history. He said, The H in H1N1 stands for Hemagglutinin and N for Neuraminidase, two viral proteins that involved in the propagation of the disease. Deadly flu viruses are produced due to recombination of the different isoforms of Hemagglutinin and Neuraminidase of human and avian viruses. This recombination occurs in pigs and that is why places where humans, birds (chickens) and pigs live close together the disease appear to originate from. The association with pigs is also the reason why most Muslim countries were spared of the Spanish flu in 1918. The spontaneous mutation is quite common in this type of viruses of the disease that is why effective vaccines are not available for the disease, Dr. Kabir further remarked. He said that disease started with flu-like symptoms that is, chills, fever, headache, malaise and muscle pain, while cough and fever are the most common symptoms. In more serious cases, influenza causes pneumonia, he added. Apart from its medical treatment, some practices are highly recommended for prevention of the disease that includes use of face mask especially in hospitals and schools, frequent hand washing with soap, the virus can be killed by treatment with 0.5 per cent bleach for 15 minutes, persons coming from affected area must be checked for flu-like symptoms, health tips should be provided for all people and influenza detection kits should be made available in many pathological labs, he said.