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September 21, 2019

Dengue, Congo fever claim three more lives


September 21, 2019

Two more people lost their lives on Friday due to dengue at a private hospital in Karachi while another person succumbed to the complications of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), commonly known as Congo fever, at the Ojha Campus of the Dow University of Health sciences (DUHS), raising the 2019 death toll due to dengue to 10 and CCHF to 18, health officials said on Friday.

“Two persons – Sonia Kashif, 24, a resident of Chota Maidan in Nazimabad, and Owais Ziauddin, 22, also a resident of Nazimabad – were brought to a private hospital in Nazimabad in critical condition, who expired during treatment. Both of them tested positive for dengue fever and died due to dengue shock syndrome,” an official of the Sindh health department said.

With the death of two young patients, the number of deaths in 2019 due to the vector-borne disease has risen to 10 in Karachi where 705 people have so far tested positive for it during the current month, of whom 64 persons tested positive on Friday alone, said officials of the dengue prevention and control programme.

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said the cases of dengue fever had been on the rise after the recent rains in Karachi. She added that although the authorities were trying to conduct fumigation to get rid of the mosquitos that are responsible for the viral disease, the people should also take precautionary measures to protect themselves and their children from mosquito bites.

“Dengue cases rise after rains especially in Karachi and other urban areas and in this regard, we are trying to conduct fumigation but we cannot conduct fumigation inside homes. People should themselves take precautionary measures to protect themselves,” Dr Pechuho said, adding that they had merged the control programmes for dengue and malaria to better utilise the resources.

In the meantime, CCHF claimed one more life in the city as an assistant director of the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) died due to complications of the tick-borne viral disease at the Ojha Campus of the DUHS, officials said. The deceased was identified as Mahmood Ali. He was 56 years old.

Health officials said it was the 18th death of 2019 in the city due to the tick-borne disease. They added that a majority of 2019’s CCHF deaths occurred in the month of August. Another patient of CCHF is currently being treated at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). JPMC officials said he was a resident of Shahdadpur in Sanghar district.

“Hadi Bux, 33, a resident of district Sanghar has been brought to the JPMC from Hyderabad and he has tested positive for CCHF. He is currently admitted to an isolation ward and is under treatment,” said Dr Seemin Jamali, the JPMC executive director.

PTI MPA raises concern

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)'s Sindh Assembly member Dr Imran Shah has raised concern over a high incidence of various diseases in the province.

In a statement, Dr Shah said during the ongoing year, 18 people have so far died of Congo virus, 13 of naegleria and eight of dengue. "While the number of malaria cases has exceeded 50,000 in the province, dengue cases have increased in Karachi since the monsoon rains," said the MPA, who is also a health practitioner.

Citing statistics of the Sindh health department, he said 2,138 dengue cases have been registered in Karachi this year alone and 94 in other districts of Sindh. The PTI MPA said deadly diseases were spreading in Sindh, especially Karachi. He also lamented the rise in the cases of AIDS in Larkana.

The rapidly spreading diseases in the province are a major question mark over the performance of the Sindh government, he said. Dr Shah called on the Sindh government to wake up to the serious health situation in Sindh and declare the health emergency across the province, especially in Karachi,

He also asked the provincial government to launch awareness campaigns for the prevention of diseases in the city and suggested to the health department to launch fumigation drives against mosquitoes to prevent dengue and malaria in the city. “KWSB [Karachi Water and Sewerage Board] should be compelled to chlorinate the water [being supplied to the people] to prevent naegleria,” he said.