Sixteen people were admitted at the Karachi Adventist Hospital, 10 at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, seven at the NIBD Hospital, three at the Holy Family Hospital, two at the Liaquat National Hospital and two patients were admitted at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre over the last 24 hours, said Dengue Surveillance Cell in-charge Dr Shakil Mullick.
This year, 1,889 people were taken to various hospitals with symptoms of dengue and high fever, out of which 944 patients were dengue positive, he added.
Where can one get treatment for dengue?
Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed said that his department is providing “all available medical assistance” to dengue patients. Efforts are being taken to provide more dengue kits to government hospitals, where patients are being treated free of charge, he said. Ahmed also appealed to the people to “adopt precautionary measures to save themselves and their families for the dengue viral fever”.
Six to 10 dengue patients are reported at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) on a daily basis, which is the largest number of dengue patients to visit any government hospital across the province, said ASH dengue department in-charge Dr Jawaid. He added that an isolation ward with 25 beds has also been established at his hospital where all facilities are being provided to dengue patients.
This is the biggest government hospital isolation ward across the province, he said.
Two to four patients are reported daily at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), said the hospital’s deputy director, Azhar Khan, who added that the JPMC can cater to 16 patients at one time at its isolation ward.
A four-bed isolation ward has been established at the Children Hospital North Nazimabad, said its medical superintendent, Dr Asif Zaman. However, no dengue cases have been reported at the hospital so far, he added.
Similarly, very few dengue patients visit the National Institute of Child Health (NICH), which is why the hospital has not established an isolation ward, said NICH deputy director Dr Arshad Ali Domki.
Meanwhile, the Dengue Surveillance Cell also facilitates dengue patients, said Mullick.
How to control the spread of the virus?
In Pakistan, the dengue fever season often starts right after the monsoon rains, when water accumulates on the streets and provides excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes, said Sindh Government Services Hospital physician Dr Ikhtiar Shaikh.
People should put wiremesh on doors and windows in their houses to keep flies and mosquitoes away, while water tanks and containers should be covered properly so that mosquitoes don’t use them as breeding grounds, said Shaikh, who added that the aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit the dengue virus, breed in clean water.
The government should exempt dengue kits from taxes and duties in order to ensure that poor people can access treatment, said Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) former secretary general Dr Qaiser Sajjad.
Owners of private laboratories and blood banks should also sell blood platelets at affordable prices, as most of the patients belong to poor localities with dismal hygiene conditions, he said, adding that dengue can develop into a hemorrhagic fever which can often prove fatal.
He regretted that stagnant water can be seen in many areas across Karachi due to the negligence of the municipal authorities. Without pumping out accumulated water or spraying oil on water bodies, we cannot stop the breeding of mosquitoes and dengue cases will continue to rise till winter approaches, when the lower temperature automatically kills mosquitoes, he added.
Fumigation is being carried out in 18 towns of Karachi, said EDO Health Dr Nasir Jawaid, who added that the government is trying its best to provide medical facilities to the people as well as create awareness among the people about dengue fever.
Patients must avoid self-medication and consult a doctor before taking any medicine. Doctors usually prescribe a Complete Blood Count (CBC) test, which shows the number of blood platelets. A low platelet count may indicate that a person has the dengue fever, after which doctor starts treatment accordingly, Sajjad said.
The dengue virus usually starts with high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes as well as muscle and joint pain. Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite are also common symptoms while a rash usually appears three to four days after the fever. The illness can last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take as long as a month.
With dengue hemorrhagic fever, blood vessels start to leak and cause bleeding from the nose, mouth, and gums. Bruises may also start to appear, which can be a sign of bleeding inside the body. Without prompt treatment, blood vessels can collapse, resulting in the dengue shock syndrome.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever is fatal in about five per cent of cases, mostly among children and younger people.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2010.
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