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November 9, 2015

Population becomes vulnerable to severe dengue fever outbreak in future


November 9, 2015

The prevailing situation regarding spread of dengue fever in this region of the country has convinced health experts to believe that the best defence against spread of its infection is prevention and for that matter, the concerned government authorities have to launch effective awareness campaigns on permanent basis along with provision of free-of-cost mosquito repellents to public at least in high-risk districts.
Before 2006, Pakistan did not encounter significant problem though there had been dengue fever outbreaks but in limited regions, however, after 2006, the infection emerged out as a greater health threat claiming number of lives every year. Now the situation has changed as dengue virus has spread almost all over Pakistan due to increased number of infected people among population.
With more than 4,000 confirmed reported cases of dengue fever along with 10 reported deaths caused by the infection only in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi so far in 2015, the situation may take an alarming turn in the year to come if proper preventive and control measures are not taken by the concerned authorities in general and individuals in particular.
Experts believe that the federal and the provincial governments should launch effective awareness campaigns by using simple modes of communication including pictorial material on permanent basis through billboards and not through hanging banners that are vanished away after a month or so.
After the recent dengue fever outbreak that is much intense, it is believed that outbreak in future cannot be averted only through awareness campaign instead the government authorities should have to provide mosquito repellents and insecticides free of cost to public at least in high-risk districts.
Health departments have repeatedly expressed that to control spread of dengue fever, individuals will have to play active role but experts say that there is a need of enabling individuals to do so by

proving repellents and insecticides at community level.
A number of health experts believe that only fogging by the concerned government authorities, the outbreak in future cannot be avoided instead after recent outbreak, it is need of the time to create sufficient awareness among public on how to avoid dengue fever and motivate individuals to join hands with the health departments in averting possibly a more deadly dengue fever outbreak in future.
Dengue fever is caused by the bite of an infected female mosquito aedes aegypti and elimination of its larvae and adult population is a must to avoid outbreak of the infection.
Experts say that huge sized billboards containing pictorial material on what is needed to be done to avoid dengue fever incidence should be installed in every nook and corner of the district on permanent basis round the year. No one should be allowed to remove the boards and if needed, the material should be refreshed according to situation.
Aedes aegypti breeds and stays only on clean water containers like barrels, buckets, drums, tanks, flower vases, water coolers, discarded tires, toilet bowls and other such places, including the ones where rainwater collects. Experts say that the concerned government authorities should convince individuals and families through regular health education campaigns that they should empty all water containers and avoid collection of water in open anywhere in the house in any season.
Public should use mosquito repellents such as oils, mosquito coils, vapour mats etc to reduce human-mosquito contact and the concerned authorities should provide these either free of cost to public or make arrangements for their provision in open markets at cheaper rates.
All varieties of mosquitoes breed in or near water that is stagnant or slow moving. The importance of mosquitoes in transmission of disease makes adequate control of mosquito-breeding sites very important, especially those close to human habitation. Experts say that the concerned government authorities with the help of community should take measures to avoid collection of water in and around residences.
According to health experts, the awareness material so far displayed at healthcare facilities and in newspapers is based mainly on written material including technical language and terms and it can be made more effective and simple by using pictorial expressions which can certainly be understood by 100 percent population of the country.

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