Dengue awareness in Pakistan

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Although the number of Dengue awareness cases is low right now, there is a chance it might increase in the following months. Therefore, residents must not let their guard down.

While talking to media, a World Health Organization (WHO) adviser, Dr. Muhammad Aslam Khan said that the right way to eradicate mosquitoes carrying dengue is by first identifying and then cleaning the places where mosquitoes lay eggs.

This point was the focus of the rally conducted by people from different fields of life on 17th March 2015, in Toba Tek Singh. It aimed to aware people about the Dengue Virus. The rally included school children, teachers, politicians, doctors and civil servants. They held slogans such as, “keep your environment and houses clean.”

The health experts have been focusing on dengue awareness since the epidemic of 2011 and they say that the main reason behind dengue outbreak in Pakistan every year is the lack of an in-depth study on the subject.

Dengue fever which is also known as “breakbone fever,” is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening Dengue awareness hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or a state where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.

Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito. The virus has four different types; infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short term immunity to others. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications. As there is no vaccine, prevention is sought by reducing the habitat and the number of mosquitoes and limiting exposure to bites.

Treatment of acute dengue is supportive, using either oral or intravenous rehydration for mild or moderate disease, and intravenous fluids and blood transfusion for more severe cases.

As many as 7 union councils of Rawalpindi city have been declared high risk by Punjab government for this year in wake of growing number of dengue patients. The high risk declared union councils are Ratta, Mohin Pura, Hazara Colony, Pir Wadhai, Chaman Zar, Aria Mohalla, Khiaban Sir-syed and Bangash colony.

“The unexpected outbreak of Dengue awareness this year suggests that the virus is growing stronger and proper research should be carried out to seek ways to eradicate it,” said Dr. Tayyba Ijaz, Mayo Hospital and King Edward Medical University Microbiology Diagnostic and Research Lab Infection Control Officer.

She said that Dengue had become an endemic now and the nation needs to have a disease-tracking system along with an early-warning system. She added that Pakistan has a ‘no-virus culture labs’ which according to her cannot even make a vaccine for itself.

Meanwhile the government has set 19 teams under EDO (Health) Dr. Khalid Randhawa and DHO Dr. Muhammad Rafiq for door to door spray campaign in the union councils which have been declared high risk.

The trained employees will further assist their respective departments in creating awareness among the masses besides carrying out anti-dengue campaigns including fumigation drives across the district. The provincial government is planning to contain the virus before it becomes all pervading.

On the contrary, Dr. Muhammad Aslam Khan said that the sprays being used to in fumigation cannot kill dengue. He added that officials, however, don’t want to let go of the idea for using anti-mosquito sprays because there are better opportunities for misappropriation in this process.

A senior doctor requesting anonymity informed that all advertisements regarding the prevention of dengue being published on behalf of the Punjab government currently are completely misleading. He said that they allege that all public health institutions are equipped with complete diagnostic and treatment facilities, which is completely untrue.

Meanwhile, the government has warned that no slackness of the staff will be tolerated during anti dengue campaign in Rawalpindi this year.

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