Islamabad - The National Institute of Health has asked the healthcare authorities to take special measures for prevention and control of Influenza A/H1N1 infections.

According to NIH, there was a need to strengthen and improve the level of preparedness in prevention, control and management of influenza.

The institute has recommended preventive measures for awareness and limiting the H1N1 transmission if someone is sick or in close-contact with persons having flu-like illness, including frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water or hand sanitiser.

It advised to avoid touching nose, mouth or eyes as the virus survives on common surfaces, etc. besides taking rest, avoid crowds and take other social distancing measures.

In advisory, the NIH recommended the young children to stay home from school if he or she is sick and avoid mixing and playing with other children besides covering mouth and nose in sneeze or cough.

It also advised to avoid contaminating hands, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the inner crook of elbow. It added vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection and severe outcomes caused by influenza viruses particularly in high risk groups.

WHO recommended seasonal influenza vaccination for pregnant women, children aged 6-59 months, elderly people, individuals with chronic medical conditions and health-care workers. WHO also recommended trivalent quadrivalent seasonal vaccines for use during 2018.

NIH said that the throat swab sample of any suspected patient should be collected earlier in the course of illness and transported in viral transport medium (VTM) to Influenza sentinel labs at provincial sentinel labs or to the National Institute of Health Islamabad under intimation to the Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division (FE&DSD).