Islamabad-At least two patients died of seasonal influenza while the disease was confirmed in nearly 80 patients during the last month, an official said on Monday.

The details said as many as 515 suspected samples of seasonal influenza H1N1 were sent to National Institute of Health (NIH) during the last one month and the virus was confirmed in 78 people. The official said that mostly, the patients suffering from the virus were from the twin cities and the NIH was still receiving reports from PIMS and Polyclinic hospitals of Islamabad and allied hospitals of Rawalpindi regarding the ailment.

According to the PIMS official Dr Waseem Khawaja, influenza H1N1 virus was confirmed in 17 patients during the last month out of which two patients died of the disease. He said that 5 patients were still admitted in the hospital including two children of 6 years of age.

Dr Waseem claimed that the PIMS was providing the best healthcare facilities to the patients.

The seasonal influenza also known as swine flu has so far claimed nearly 40 lives in southern Punjab and has affected a large number of population. Influenza occurs all over the world with an annual global attack rate estimated at 5 per cent to 10 per cent in adults and 20 per cent to 30 per cent in children. Influenza is a seasonal disease occurring typically in winter months, Dr Waseem elaborated.

The 2009 pandemic influenza A H1N1 virus, which appeared for the first time in 2009, is now known as seasonal influenza virus that co-circulates with other seasonal viruses (influenza A H3N2 and influenza B viruses). World Health Organisation (WHO) declared in August 2010 that H1N1 was now in post pandemic phase and declared both strains (H1N1, H3N2) as seasonal flu viruses.

The NIH after outbreak of the virus had issued an advisory, stating that pregnant women, elders, very young, overweight, immune compromised and people with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes, cardiac and lungs diseases were at high risk for developing complications due to the H1N1 infection.