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September 4, 2018

Dengue control strategy in the making


September 4, 2018

Islamabad: Islamabad Capital Territory Health Department is working out a strategy to avoid a possible outbreak of dengue fever whose peak transmission season has set in with reports of confirmed cases admitted in Rawalpindi hospitals.

Keeping in view the past five years spikes of the infection, it can be said that dengue fever is likely to spread in adjoining Islamabad and as thousands of people commute between Islamabad and Rawalpindi on daily basis, there is a great threat that the disease might affect the ICT region and may become an epidemic in the current season starting from beginning to mid-September.

Additional District Health Officer at ICT health department Dr. Muhammad Najeeb Durrani expressed this while talking to ‘The News’ on Monday. He said this year there have been only four patients so far reported from Islamabad whereas last year there were 37 confirmed patients in ICT rural and 15 in urban limits of Islamabad at this point in time.

There is delayed presentation of the disease this year though the ICT health department is taking measures religiously for effective control, he said. After appearance of the first confirmed cases of dengue fever, the health department has written letters to executive directors of all nine hospitals in urban and rural limits of the federal capital requesting them to immediately share data of dengue fever patients admitted in the hospitals with health department, said Dr. Durrani.

He said the health department ICT is working on a strategy composed of two parts and has held meetings to depute its teams comprising sanitary inspectors and lady health supervisors and workers to launch a continuous campaign.

In the first part of the strategy, the teams of health department are carrying out a number of activities including social mobilization through door-to-door visits by lady health visitors for motivating community to create awareness among the rural population to adopt preventive measures to save themselves from the bite of dengue mosquitoes, he said.

He said the ICT health department has asked its teams to remain vigilant on checking breeding and growth of dengue mosquitoes inside houses in their respective catchment areas while the ICT health department has planned to hold awareness walks, display banners, distribute pamphlets and to motivate school children for sufficient awareness among public on how to avoid dengue fever.

He added outdoor surveillance is being carried out and water reservoirs that can not be eliminated are being treated chemically by adding temephos granules to destroy larvae of dengue fever vector while the teams of health department carrying indoor surveillance are destroying possible breeding sites of dengue fever vector from inside houses mechanically (by hand).

Lady health workers are visiting door-to-door to look for any probable breeding sites inside homes like water room coolers, broken furniture, toys, lids, cans pitchers and saucers, refrigerator trays, flower pots, utensils and all those items that might have attracted the rainwater or water from other sources to serve as breeding sites, he said.

Dr. Durrani said there are seven teams each comprising 13 to 25 members depending on the size of the union councils to work in the field for outdoor surveillance of dengue vector and destruction of active breeding sites at hot spots.

He said the campaign would be a continuous process as per available data with the Health Department ICT, the cases start reporting for admission in hospitals in the end of August and continue to rise till the month of October, when the disease shows a gradual fall due to the decreasing temperature, which lasts till second week of December.

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