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November 21, 2019

Pakistan’s dengue outbreak has consumed 80 lives so far this year


November 21, 2019

Islamabad: While there have been no deaths from Dengue in Pakistan during the last 24 hours, 80 people have thus far lost their lives to the outbreak during the period between January 1-19, 2019. Of these, 34 deaths have occurred in Sindh, 22 in Islamabad, 20 in Punjab, 3 in Balochistan, and 1 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, informs the latest Dengue Situation Report of the Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division of the National Institute of Health (NIH).

As for the total number of Dengue cases in Pakistan, 50,300 people have been affected so far. The number of cases confirmed on November 19 alone stand at 250, with Sindh leading the count with 178 cases, followed by Punjab (32), Islamabad (21), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (10), KP Tribal Districts (4), cases whose origin remained unknown (4) and Balochistan (1).

During the period under review (January 1-November 19), Islamabad alone has reported 13,221 Dengue cases. According to the Emergency Operations Centre of NIH, “Numbers in Islamabad have to be interpreted in view of the active surveillance initiated by the Dengue Control Cell in the Ministry of Health and integration of government and private sector hospitals with the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) dashboard. Every suspected patient in the capital is tested by a highly sensitive NS1 antigen. The data also includes cases of Islamabad residents reported from other cities.” Talking about the twin cities, Islamabad and Rawalpindi have reported 37 new cases in the last 24 hours; their total contribution to the national tally standing at 42%.

Maximum cases have been reported from Sindh, where 13,800 people have suffered from Dengue during the period under review, 178 of them in the last 24 hours. Even though the outbreak continues to subside, Karachi remains an active hub for new cases, contributing 158 (63%) to the national count in the last 24 hours. Hotspots in Karachi include Central, East, and South districts. Within these districts, high cases are reported from North Nazimabad, New Karachi, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, PIB Colony, Dhoraji Colony, DHA Phase-2 extension, and Clifton Cantt.

In Punjab, 9,922 Dengue cases have been confirmed this year, 32 of them in the last 24 hours. Lahore alone has reported 8 cases in the last 24 hours, taking its count to 822. The total number of cases in Balochistan stands at 3,218, with only 1 case having been reported in the last 24 hours. KP, with 10 new cases in the last 24 hours, has contributed 7,031 cases to the national tally. AJK has had 1,691 cases, with none in the last 24 hours. While the origin of 633 cases has remained unknown, Gilgit-Baltistan is the only area to have remained completely Dengue-free throughout the year, with zero cases and deaths; rhere have also been no deaths in KP and its tribal districts.

Talking to this scribe, a senior epidemiologist said, similar outbreaks are expected every two to three years, with major urban areas predisposed to highest risk. “Considering multiple Dengue virus types circulating together, the risk of hemorrhagic fever and higher mortality also looms large, making it imperative for the government to launch a multisectoral National Action Plan.

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