Dengue outbreak demands preventive steps for future

Islamabad - Dangerous dengue mosquitoes after taking lives of people in Lahore and Swat during the last few years have made the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad its stronghold this season affecting hundreds of persons.
Though, the federal capital is not that much affected by the virus having about 500 dengue patients so far but its cases in Rawalpindi district have witnessed a surge as according to latest figures as the toll has reached to nearly 4000.
Dengue, which came into Pakistan through a consignment of tyres containing eggs of this deadly creature stays around clean water where it germinates and spread eggs.
It is bigger in size as compared to normal mosquitoes and attacks during evening to morning.
This mosquito has developed a strong resistance against all kinds of available pesticides while medical science has also not yet provided any vaccine or specific medicine for `dengue and severe dengue virus.’
People can protect themselves from this mosquito by adopting certain precautionary measures, which include avoiding piling up of solid waste, removing stagnant water at homes and surroundings.
The federal and provincial governments have taken this matter seriously and launched comprehensive anti-dengue campaigns across the country.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA), Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), and Health Department officials have claimed that situation is under control in the capital. Assistant District Health Officer ICT Health Department Dr Najeeb Durrani, who is also In-charge of Dengue Control Cell, have hoped that the breeding of dengue virus in the capital would come to an end by November 15.
Talking to APP, he, however, was of the view that the health department would have to plan an effective strategy on urgent basis to avoid dengue fever outbreak in twin cities in future.
The surfacing of such a large number of dengue cases in the capital was alarming and had set a challenge for the concerned authorities to take preventive measures to avoid its outbreak next year, said Durrani who is also a member of The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). Durrani said dengue mosquito developing in the current season was basically sterile and was developing after biting the infected person.
Another health department official told APP that cases in ICT hospitals were being monitored on daily basis. Whenever a fresh case arises, health department teams rush into the area and do the needful.
Meanwhile, the CDA has also taken preventive measures in the federal capital and constituted special teams to handle prevailing dengue situation.
These teams had inspected 21,513 places and collected samples to detect presence of dengue larva, said CDA Environment officials during a briefing to chairman CDA regarding efforts against outbreak of dengue fever.
Under the anti-dengue campaign around 20,000 pamphlets spreading awareness about the disease were distributed among residents, while 500 banners were also displayed in the capital, the chairman was informed.
Moreover, anti-mosquito spray has been done at 2,880 potential sites while fogging activities were made at 2,550 places.
Dengue has become a global problem covering 120 countries and affecting more than 50 million people annually.
The dengue virus causes a flu-like illness, a sort of mild fever that incapacitates high fever with severe headache.
It causes pain behind the eyes, muscles and joints, which sometimes converts into a potentially lethal complication called “severe dengue” which is dangerous for life and it results into bleeding, low level of blood platelets, blood plasma leakage, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting and breathing difficulty, and then it moves into “dengue shock syndrome” in which low blood pressure occurs at dangerous level and causes death.
Doctors advise that patients suffering from dengue fever should rest, drink plenty of fluids and use paracetamol to reduce fever. With such a high number of confirmed dengue cases in the twin cities
Along with some deaths, the situation may take an alarming turn in the years to come if the concerned authorities do not take proper preventive measures in general and individuals in particular.

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