NIH issues Seasonal Awareness, Alert Letter for epidemic-prone infectious diseases

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By Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD: The National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad has issued its 49th Seasonal Awareness and Alert Letter (SAAL) for epidemic-prone infectious diseases in Pakistan.

The main purpose of SAAL is to alert all concerned health authorities and professionals at all levels for timely and efficient response to the outbreaks/ epidemics.

This letter is developed for the winter season from October 2020 to February 2021.

In this letter, NIH exhibited patterns of high priority communicable diseases including COVID-19, CCHF, Dengue Fever, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Seasonal Flu, and XDR Typhoid.

These diseases are predicted to be on high alert during the said season.

It also contains a 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 Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) / AIDS as national while Ebola Virus Disease which may be a threat to any of the country or region in the future.

On the basis of last five-year data, NIH recommends for all federal, provincial, and district health departments to keep a continuous surveillance/watch on the anticipated seasonal public health threats and taking of all preventive or curative measures in this context.

Due to the ongoing pandemic situation of COVID-19, its epidemiology, impact, prevention, and control were elaborated in detail.

Along with technical advice and support, NIH is facilitating testing and capacity building services for all educational, economic, administrative, and local institutions at Islamabad.

To facilitate the stakeholders, the requisite technical guidelines and awareness material regarding infectious diseases along with Seasonal Awareness Alert Letter (SAAL) are also available at the NIH website: www.nih.org.pk.

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