Married woman, teenage boy fall victim to dengue

December 08, 2019

Despite the weather turning a bit cold over the past few days in Karachi, the city is still in the grip of the dengue fever epidemic as two more people, including a married woman and a teenage boy,...

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Despite the weather turning a bit cold over the past few days in Karachi, the city is still in the grip of the dengue fever epidemic as two more people, including a married woman and a teenage boy, died due to complexities of the mosquito-borne illness in the city on Saturday, officials said.

“A 32-year-old married woman from the Rufi Green Apartments, Abul Hasan Asfahani Road, died due to complications of dengue fever at Aga Khan University Hospital on Saturday,” an official of the Sindh Dengue Prevention and Control Programme told The News.

With the two more deaths, the number of dengue victims climbed to 46 in the current year in Karachi alone, officials said, adding that most of the dengue deaths were reported in the months of October and November, while people were still dying due to the vector-borne illness in the month of December also.

The Sindh Dengue Prevention and Control Programme official said the woman was taken to the hospital due to high-grade fever and other complaints and she died due to the dengue shock syndrome, multi-organ failure and other complications at the health facility. He added that the hospital did not release the identity of the patient due to privacy reasons.

Similarly, a 16-years-old boy from the Usmanabad area of Garden was also taken to the Aga Khan University Hospital after he tested positive for dengue, and he died of complications of the mosquito-borne illness, he added.

The unfortunate boy, the official said, also died due to septic shock, the multi-organ dysfunction syndrome and other complications. He added that the hospital also withheld the personal details of the patient due to privacy reasons.

Experts warned people in Karachi to remain cautious of the fever, saying it was now an endemic disease which remained present the entire year, and mosquitos responsible for the fever continued to haunt people irrespective of the months and season in Karachi.

“The weather remains same and conducive for the dengue fever in Karachi and in these circumstances people should take precautionary measures against the viral illness. The best option is to prevent yourself from mosquitoes by using repellents, keeping your surroundings clean and using sprays in and around your houses”, said Dr Umer Sultan, a physician trained in preventing and treating tropical diseases, including dengue. On December 3, a two-month-old child succumbed to complications of the mosquito-borne illness at a private hospital, compelling Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to take up the matter with the provincial health department and directing its officials to “do something” to control the epidemic.

“Muhammad Abdullah died due to dengue fever and its complications at Dr Ziauddin Hospital, North Nazimabad, on Tuesday, raising the death toll due to dengue fever in Karachi to 44,” an official of the Sindh Dengue Prevention and Control Program had confirmed to The News.

The CM summoned health department officials and the health minister, and asked them to do something to prevent the dengue deaths in the city, saying mere collection of data from hospitals was not enough to control the situation.

“You should start research-based work so that precautionary measures could be taken in vulnerable areas from where most of the dengue cases are being reported. We must have the map showing the affected areas of last year so that concerned departments, including the local government and health departments, could be directed to take precautionary measures before the start of the dengue season,” he told a meeting of the Prevention and Control Programme for Dengue (PCPD) at the CM House.

The chief minister said the people in the dengue control programme were carrying out a routine programme and this would not create any impact. “You have to collect a reliable data, not only from the hospitals but from laboratories to ascertain the actual number of the affected people and we must know which areas are affected this month/year and how many people were affected last year and what is the difference,” he said and added there must be a scientific method to tackle the situation.

Shah directed the dengue programme team to prepare maps of the affected areas of last year and this year and study the measures taken last year and their impact and then identify the weaknesses, if any. “You can assign the research-based work to medical universities for your guidance,” he said.

He also directed the dengue control programme to inform the relevant departments, including the commissioners and deputy commissioners, about the period in which dengue mosquitoes emerged so that institutions could start precautionary measures.

The chief minister was told that the country was facing outbreaks of the dengue infection in all its provinces.

A total of 52,476 cases have been reported till December 1, 2019, which include 13,283 cases in Islamabad, 10,051 in Punjab, 15,521 in Sindh, 7,080 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 3,386 in Balochistan and 1,690 AJK.

In Sindh, 15521 cases of dengue have been reported, out of which 14,534 or 93 per cent happened in Karachi.

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