KARACHI   -    Dengue fever — a vector-borne viral disease which can eas­ily be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites — has gripped the city as hundreds and thou­sands of patients are reporting daily at government and pri­vate hospitals as well to general practitioners, though mortali­ties from the disease are low, it emerged on Sunday.

Information gathered from different sources revealed that currently both private and pub­lic sector hospitals have a high number of admissions pertain­ing to dengue cases while the majority of people reporting at the out-patient departments and private clinics with flu-like signs and symptoms were being diag­nosed to have dengue.

According to sources, five ma­jor hospitals of the city have re­ported no death since dengue’s outbreak this year.

These hospitals are: the Sindh Infectious Disease Hospital (SIDHRC) and Research Centre, Dow University Hospital, Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), National Institute of Child Health (NICH) and Jinnah Postgradu­ate Medical Centre (JPMC). The sources said that the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) had seen the highest number of deaths (11) in the last six weeks followed by the Liaquat National Hospital (LNH) with three deaths (reported between May and Sept 9), the Indus Hospital with two mortalities (reported between August 1 and Sept 8) and South City Hospital (one death).

“A total of 1,034 patients have safely recovered at LNH since May. There were only three fa­talities while several patients are still under treatment,” hospital official Anjum Rizvi shared.

The three patients who died were brought in critical condi­tion at the hospital, he added.

Dow Hospital’s Medical Super­intendent (MS) Dr Zahid Azam said although dengue patients were reporting in large num­bers, so far there was no mortal­ity at the hospital.

“We are daily getting 40 to 50 patients for admission out of whom eight are admitted to the intensive care unit [ICU] while the rest are discharged in a day or two and these cases are fol­lowed up in clinics,” he told me­dia. High frequency, low severity According to Dr Wajid Hussain at NICH, the largest public sector hospital for children in Sindh, while the frequency of dengue cases is high this year, the dis­ease is less severe and mortality rate is low as compared to last year’s.

“Out of the 510 children screened since August, more than half, 282, found to be den­gue positive. There is no death,” he said, adding that the mortal­ity rate was two to three per cent in dengue cases last year at the hospital and that 40pc of the pa­tients being tested these days at the facility were dengue positive.

SIDHRC MS Dr Abdul Wahid Rajput said currently 49 patients were under treatment at the facility and eight of them were children. He seconded Dr Hus­sain’s opinion and said the num­ber of dengue cases was 50pc higher this year and that several patients awaited admission but the hospital had run out of space.

According to experts, oral re­hydration and a balanced diet is the key to dengue management.

“The disease gets serious when people stop eating and drinking as they feel lethargic and nauseous. In other cases, patients don’t take the illness seriously, opt for self-medication and seek medical intervention only when things go out of con­trol,” Dr Rajput explained and added blood transfusion was re­quired in very few cases.

Sharing CHK’s data, Dr Nasrul­lah Memon, the additional MS of the hospital, said 1,700 patients had been admitted and treated at the facility since August with no death.

“Dengue fever treatment re­quires timely and proper rehy­dration of fluids and electrolytes to limit serious consequences caused by dehydration, such as shock. Unfortunately, this is of­ten ignored by doctors who fo­cus more on blood transfusion, which is required in few cases,” he pointed out.

About the dengue status at JPMC, deputy executive direc­tor of the hospital Dr Yahya Tunio said 64 dengue patients had been treated from August till date with no death. “Today, seven more patients are admit­ted while 40pc of the samples being tested at the hospital laboratory are being detected as that of dengue.”