KARACHI - After some deadly episodes of dengue fever, Swine Flu (H1N1) has become another threat to the people of the province as the provincial government has confirmed 24 swine flu cases in the province. Health experts have cautioned the government to take early preventive measure against the 'Swine Flu (H1N1) that may hit any country in the world, as it has been found highly contagious and deadly disease. According to a report of Agha Khan University Hospital (AKUH), around 24 test samples have been found positive with swine flu. Focal Person of Swine Flu Cell, Dr Shakil Malik, told The Nation that the NIH, Islamabad, had confirmed only four cases of the disease in the province. Conversely, one patient Amir Ali, residing in Gulshan-e-Maymar, had already been reported who died of swine flu in the City. However, around 20 members of the deceased family are being vaccinated against the disease. Another patient Dr M is admitted to AKUH with complaints of swine flu, while his condition is being stated serious. Dr Malik further said that as per statistics prepared by the government, around 39 cases of swine flu had been confirmed in the country out of which 7 cases died of the disease. Director, International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), Karachi University (KU), stressed the need for developing coordination among the scientists, doctors and the government to deal with any untoward situation. Arrangements of mass awareness programmes about the fatality, nature, symptoms, diagnosis, preventions and treatment of the disease was the hard-pressed demand of the time, he said. In 1918 Swine Flu, which was known as Spanish flu, killed up to 100 million people worldwide that would be the highest casualty ever for a pandemic in the 6,000 years of human history, he added. The president of Infection Control Society of Pakistan, Dr Rafiq Khanani, said that due to the higher possibility of a Swine Flu infection during the early winter season, suspected patients should be isolated from the community and family members. He said, Patients suffering from flu should avoid public places, schools, buses, outpatient departments and hospitals. It is essential that the government should enable telephonic medical consultations for such patients, preferably some dedicated toll-free phone numbers should be provided for them. The healthcare workers are excessively exposed to this virus. It is the fastest spreading infection in communities. Morbidity and mortality associated with Swine Flu is about 5-10 times more than the seasonal flu. Case Fatality Rate of Swine flu is 0.5 per cent (which means that one in every 200 persons infected may die from it) while that of seasonal flu is less than 0.1 per cent (one in 1000). Complications and deaths have been reported with increasing frequency in pregnant women, people suffering from tuberculosis, asthma, severe obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and immunosuppression. Majority of people suffering from Swine Flu are in highly productive age group of 15-50, which is in sharp contrast to seasonal flu which commonly affect very young and elderly. Seasonal Flu vaccine does not protect from present Swine Flu virus infection. Cold and dry weather facilitate its spread and crowded conditions are ideal for transmission of Swine Flu. Dr Qutbuddin of Dow University Hospital said that disease started with flu-like symptoms which include chills, fever, headache, malaise and muscle pain, while cough and fever were 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 the 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. On the other hand, the Sindh government has taken some concrete steps in the province to halt the spread of a Swine flu pandemic. For this purpose, two special isolation wards have been set up at Civil Hospital and Services Hospital, whereas, preventive drugs have been distributed in all the districts of Sindh.