Dengue Surge

Health officials have expressed alarm at the outbreak of the dengue virus in the Kech district, as official data showed the infection claimed two lives and infected over 2,000 people during the months of April and May. The district is known to be a high-risk place for the virus, but this time around the situation is a lot more severe in terms of the positivity rate. Reports regarding the lack of preventive measures and health facilities are extremely concerning, and this should really not be happening given that this is now a yearly occurrence.
The data by the Provincial Malaria Program showed district Kech reported 2,131 dengue cases in April and May. Two patients also died from the virus while undergoing treatment in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi. The changing weather patterns have also impacted the situation, because usually by the mid of May, dengue mosquitoes cannot survive once the temperature increases up to 37 degrees, however this has not been the case this time around.
This district also deserves particular attention, because while Gwadar and Lasbela are also high-risk districts, only Kech has reported a surge in positive cases over the last six years. The officials claim that despite intense insecticide fogging, the virus cannot be stopped from spreading until the masses don’t cooperate with the government to take preventive measures within their homes. However, local residents deny these claims and argue that the government has been neglectful.
The truth may be somewhere in between as this menace requires a holistic approach that includes awareness campaigns, preventative measures on part of the government, and adequate medical facilities and interventions. The situation is dire considering that beds are short in the isolation wards and many patients are now being admitted in general wards or being shifted to Karachi. Given our experience with dengue, it is unfortunate to see how this is a yearly headline, and we fail to take proactive steps to address this.

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