Dengue outbreak

September 5, 2019

Within the last about 24 hours, 138 dengue patients were admitted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) and three government hospitals in Rawalpindi. With the new arrival of 70 dengue patients, the total number of positive cases reported to Pims since Aug 1 reached 200. Moreover, 68 dengue patients arrived in three government hospitals of Rawalpindi, raising the number of hospitalised dengue patients to 202. Officials said the condition of 16 of the patients was critical. Pims’ media coordinator Dr Waseem Khawaja told Dawn that initially just a few confirmed cases were reported in the hospital but on Monday 70 cases were reported positive. “It shows that the number of cases may further increase in coming days. We have established isolation wards for the patients,” he said. Replying a question, Dr Khawaja said since Aug 1 as many as 400 suspected dengue patients visited Pims out of whom 200 were tested positive. He said it was not confirmed how many of these patients were residents of Islamabad and how many from other surrounding areas.

A senior official of the district administration in Rawalpindi said 202 dengue patients were admitted to the hospitals, including 47 from Islamabad. He said the patients were being provided free of cost medication and a large number of them had been discharged. The district administration has divided the city and cantonment areas into three sectors. Deputy Commissioner Ali Randhawa appointed three additional DCs to monitor the anti-dengue drive in Rawal Town, Potohar Town and cantonment areas. They will monitor attendance of the officials in their respective areas and quality of fogging and dengue surveillance. All teams have been equipped with necessary kits, sprays and medicine. The teams will work from 8am to 4pm daily and submit reports to their incharges.

To meet the shortage of staff, the district administration has requested the provincial government to allow it to recruit 500 people and hire 100 fogging machines. He said the health authority had more than 130 fogging machines to carry out fumigation. However, there is a need for 100 more fogging machines to cover all the union councils.

Following recent rainfall in the country and rising temperatures, which provide an ideal breeding ground for dengue larvae, experts had been warning of the potential for an outbreak. In order to mitigate a health catastrophe, officials had to ensure district-wide cleanliness and drain out stagnant rainwater from low lying areas. Not only twin cities but also other parts of the world including Peshawar are particularly vulnerable and struggling with containing the spread of dengue each summer. Peshawar’s Khyber Teaching Hospital alone recorded 831 patients. Many of the areas that have reported dengue cases this time around are the same that were struggling with the outbreak two years ago.

Though numbers of dengue patients are increasing, but at the moment no dengue related death is reported from the government hospitals. There is dire need to work day and night to control the dengue virus and only continued and sincere efforts will reduce the number of cases.

There is dire need to work day and night to control the dengue virus and only continued and sincere efforts will reduce the number of cases.