Dengue can cause high fever, severe headache, and joint and muscle pain. In severe cases, it can also cause small blood vessels to leak which can lead to failure of the circulatory system, shock, and death. According to recent data, an estimated 400 million people contract dengue virus around the world every year, out of which 20,000 people die after showing severe symptoms.
The deadly virus has been plaguing Pakistan since 1994. However, it was only after 2010 that it became endemic and outbreaks became a serious issue. The outbreak keeps dwindling and exacerbating according to the temperature and season — mostly peaking from July and November. Studies suggest that a total of 80,000 confirmed cases of dengue fever, including 800 deaths, have been reported across the country. The worst outbreak was in 2019, when 52,485 cases were reported and 91 people lost their lives.
Considering the fact that now authorities have to juggle the coronavirus pandemic and sudden outbursts of the dengue disease, it is advised that health officials take precautionary steps that might prevent that situation from escalating out of control. The country needs to invest in dengue-related research or bring in international experts that can help us either get rid of this menace or save lives. Such diseases will only intensify in the future, so it is time for the government to seriously invest and help re-build the dilapidated healthcare structure of the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15h, 2021.