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October 7, 2017



Two more dengue deaths reported within two days

The total number of people to have died of dengue fever in Karachi rose to 11 as two more people, a young woman and an elderly man, fell prey to the dreaded mosquito-borne disease, the Sindh Health Department reported on Friday.

With only six days into October, the two fatalities took the toll for the current month to three as the first death was reported this past Wednesday. “A young woman of 27 years of age, resident of Landhi, who was identified as Nazish Arsalan died on Thursday night at a private hospital due to dengue fever and related complications,” a health department official told The News.

A few hours later, 66-year-old Rana Abdul Rasheed died of the disease at the same hospital. He was a resident of an area off the Tipu Sultan Road and was taken to the hospital with multiple complications related to the dengue fever.

On October 4, Syed Mohsin Bukhari, 45, a resident of Garden Plaza in Bahadurabad’s Sharfabad area, was reported to have died of the disease; the death was confirmed by the Sindh Dengue Prevention and Control Programme chief, Dr Abdul Rasheed.

Due to extremely poor environmental and hygienic conditions, health experts say Karachi is in the grip of mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya and so far thousands of patients of these diseases have been taken to city’s public and private hospitals where hundreds are still undergoing treatment.

“Karachi is in the grip of vector-borne diseases and hospitals are swamped with patients of tropical diseases but health officials are hiding the figures,” claimed Dr Zeeshan Ahmed, an expert on treating tropical diseases including dengue and chikungunya.

Seventy-seven-year-old Marghoob Ali, a resident of Malir Cantonment, was taken to a private hospital this past Saturday due to high-grade fever and other complications. He died due to dengue shock syndrome the same day. Sixty-four-year-old Rukhsana Yaqoob was admitted to a private hospital with a similar complaint and related complications. She passed away last Friday.

Dengue is not a lethal disease per se, but it can get fatal for children under the age of 10 and for the elderly over the age of 50. People should take precautionary measures to prevent children and the elderly from contracting it.

Last month 58-year-old Nasim Khawaja, a resident of the Garden locality, also died after she was admitted to a private hospital with high-grade fever, and despite the best efforts of the medical team, she passed away.

Health experts say hundreds of dengue fever cases have been reported at public and private hospitals across the metropolis after the recent spell of monsoon rains, as accumulated rainwater provides suitable breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Similarly, cases of malaria and chikungunya, both vector-borne diseases caused by mosquitoes, are also reported to be on the rise across the city. Dr Rasheed told The News that 2,418 dengue cases were reported last year, with three deaths, and this year, even though the number of reported cases was low and the number of deaths had doubled, the efforts to control the spread of dengue were quite satisfactory.

‘Prevention the key’   

“Using mosquito repellents, wearing light-coloured and covered clothes and improving sanitation conditions in and around homes and residential areas is the best we can do to avoid contracting dengue fever and other mosquito-borne diseases,” said Dr Ahmed. Once a person gets a viral fever like dengue or chikungunya, the only option left is to treat the symptoms as virus takes its time to leave the body, he said.