In Sindh, there is only one laboratory at the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) to deal with an influenza outbreak, which was set up with financial support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It alas has one laboratory which is not sufficient to meet the need of an entire province. It has some modern machines, for microbiological examination, which are out of order and have not been fixed. This is creating a problem as no testing can be done and no initiative has been taken to established more to face any potential swine flu outbreak.

Swine flu is a contagious disease and it spreads as seasonal flu. The most common symptoms are the same as seasonal flu, such as cough, fever, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, and shortness of breath, severe vomiting, abdominal pain and exhaustion. People who have swine flu can be contagious one day before they have any symptoms and as many as 7 days, after they get sick.

These are some effective measures to prevent swine flu. Washing hands, covering nose or mouth while you sneeze or cough; limiting your contacts with infected persons, especially during the first days of their flu symptoms; having balanced diet and getting adequate sleep and finally visiting a doctor immediately after flu symptoms. To facilitate the people, it is imperative for the government to establish at least one microbiological laboratory, equipped with latest machines and fully trained medical staff members, in every district to do different kinds of tests.

SHAIKH ABDUL RASHEED,

Sindh, March 19.