ISLAMABAD-The National Institute of Health (NIH) on Friday issued an alert to the health authorities in the country to take preventive measures to control the outbreak of communicable diseases in the winter season.  The official statement said that The National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, has issued its 43rd Seasonal Awareness and Alert Letter (SAAL) for Epidemic-prone Infectious Diseases in Pakistan. The main purpose of SAAL is to alert all health authorities and professionals, to facilitate for timely and efficient response to the outbreaks/ epidemics and to reduce the associated morbidity and mortality. This letter is developed for winter season (October 2018-February 2019) in which NIH exhibited patterns of high priority communicable diseases including Dengue, Chikungunya, CCHF, Diphtheria, Measles, Seasonal Influenza, Polio and Pertussis.

These are predicted to be on high alert during the said season. It also contains detailed introduction of diseases, case definitions, infectious agents, modes of transmission, case management and prevention.  Further, National and international public health events are also discussed. Typhoid Fever (Extensively drug resistance strain) as national, while Ebola Virus Disease, Zika Virus Disease, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona virus (MERS CoV) and Yellow Fever are considered as International events during the present winter season. Through SAAL, the NIH suggests that provincial and district health departments including Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) as well as other stakeholders need to take pre-emptive measures against the priority diseases. NIH also advised to keep a continuous watch on the anticipated seasonal public health threats and taking of all preventive or curative measures in this context. To facilitate the stakeholders, the requisite technical guidelines and awareness material along with Seasonal Awareness Alert Letter (SAAL) is also available at the NIH website: www.nih.org.pk.