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November 16, 2019

Death toll rises to 35 as dengue claims another life in Karachi


November 16, 2019

Dengue has claimed another life in Karachi on Friday, officials said, adding that hundreds of patients were awaiting admissions at major hospitals after being diagnosed with the lethal viral fever.

“Hajira Saqib, 23, a resident of the Buffer Zone area, was brought to Ziauddin Hospital in a critical condition after testing positive for dengue fever. She was kept in the intensive care unit and all possible treatment was provided, but she could not survive,” an official of the hospital told The News on Friday.

With the latest death due to the vector-borne disease in Karachi, the death toll had jumped to 35, health officials said. Hundreds of patients were being diagnosed with dengue on a daily basis and many of them were being shuttled between different hospitals as all public and private hospitals were packed to capacity due to the dengue outbreak in the city.

Over one hundred thousand people had tested positive for the fever in Karachi and the number was constantly on the rise with hundreds of patients catching disease, said Dr Farhan Essa, an eminent microbiologist.

He said the ongoing outbreak of dengue was in full swing in the city. Unfortunately, the health department was issuing data of only a few patients who were being admitted to some major hospitals.

The Sindh health department has officially confirmed 11,500 positive cases of dengue in Karachi during the current season with 35 deaths, but independent health experts say deaths could be as high as 100 or even more, because only a few hospitals in the city have provided their data to the health department, while the authorities have only included those in the data who managed to get admission to any health facility.

A survey of various public and hospitals in the city has revealed that health facilities are packed to capacity with patients and now even the corridors are being used to treat patients. A prominent health professional and owner of the National Institute of Blood Diseases, Prof Dr Tahir Shamsi, said on Friday that they were daily receiving 70-75 dengue patients but they could only admit 10 to 15 per cent of them due to lack of beds.

“Same is the situation at Karachi’s other hospitals and now we are turning away most of the patients except those who are in a critical condition,” Dr Shamsi said, adding that the dengue outbreak was likely to continue till the weather turned really cold in the city.

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