NIH issues alert on epidemic-prone infectious diseases

ISLAMABAD: National Institute of Health (NIH) Monday issued Seasonal Awareness and Alert Letter (SAAL) for epidemic-prone infectious diseases in Pakistan.

According to an official of NIH, the main purpose of this alert was to inform all concerned health authorities and professionals at all levels and to facilitate them for timely and efficient response to the outbreaks or epidemics.

He said this alert letter is developed for spring season from March to June, 2019. In this letter, NIH exhibited patterns of high priority communicable diseases including Chikungunya, Cholera, CCHF, Dengue, Leishmaniasis, Measles, Polio and Pertussis.

These diseases are predicted to be on high alert during the season while alert also contains detailed introduction of diseases, case definitions, infectious agents, modes of transmission, case management and prevention.

Through this letter, NIH also informed about national and international public health events like Typhoid Fever (Extensively Drug Resistance strain) and Naegleria fowleri as national while Ebola Virus Disease, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) considered as International events during spring season.

He said the NIH also advised the federal, provincial and district health departments as well as other stakeholders to take keep a continuous watch on the anticipated seasonal public health threats and taking of all preventive or curative measures in this context.

There is an additional information regarding ‘Mosquito Alert Pakistan app’ also included in this letter. NIH has recently launched its first-ever android based application which will help to collect information about mosquito species present in different areas.

The institute also issued an advisory regarding pollen allergy and suggested various preventive steps during the pollen season including limiting outdoor activities during high pollen counts, keeping windows and doors closed, limiting close contact with pets and using filter masks while going outside.