MULTAN/LAHORE -   Monitoring/Staff Reporters - Swine flu claims a life in Multan late Thursday, according to a private news channel. The channel reported Multan woman breath her last in Nishtar Hospital.

Earlier, two patients were admitted to Nishtar Hospital on suspicion of infection, hospital sources said. The blood samples of Farrah, a resident of Taunsa, and her physician Dr Saeed tested positive on which they were admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Farah is put on life support as her condition has deteriorated seriously. Similarly, the blood samples of Rubina, a 14-year old tuberculosis patient from Multan, and Humaira, a resident of Daulat Gate Multan, were also sent to National Institute of Health (NIH).

The blood samples of husband, father-in-law and a niece of Farah, who is in precarious condition in Nishtar Hospital, have already been sent to the NIH. An Additional Director General of Health Department Jaffar Ijaz told journalists that the likely cause of outbreak could be the birds coming from Siberia. He said that the medicines had been supplied to Nishtar hospital for treatment and the doctors were issued directive to adopt preventive measures before attending to these patients.

Meanwhile, the Livestock Department constituted three teams to carry out checking of all poultry farms to mitigate the threat of swine flu spread. The District Officer Livestock Mansoor Ahmad told journalists that the teams had started collecting samples from the poultry farms. He added that the swine flu virus could find shelter in poultry and therefore samples were being taken. He said that the owners of commercial and domestic poultry farms had been asked to adopt preventive measures and spray their farms regularly.

Adviser to Chief Minister on Health Kh Salman Rafique chaired a meeting in Lahore to to cope with the challenge. A five-member squad was sent to Multan. Rafique directed the team to complete its survey and report to him. The health secretary said that all public sector hospitals have been put on high alert and directed to take preventive steps. Punjab Health Director General Dr Zahid Pervaiz said swine flu is curable and antiviral medicines are available in abundance.

Secretary Health Babar Hayat Tarar, Additional Secretary Health Technical Dr. Anwar Janjua, Director General Health Punjab Dr. Zahid Pervaiz, Dean Institute of Public Health Prof. Moaaz Ahmed and prominent epidemiologists were present.