Dengue emergency: No respite as mosquitoes continue to thrive

Professor says negligence may lead to outbreak of disease by December.


Ali Ousat October 22, 2016
Reports from the city district government show the department has already washed out 8,000 dengue mosquito larvae, but that has only been done in posh localities of the city. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: One cannot prevent themselves from dengue virus by only cleaning their surroundings and doing away with stagnant water in their locality, the mosquitoes have more spots for breeding. Even flower pots, trees and sanitary pots in the restrooms are likely to have the virus lingering on them.

“Negligence on part of the public and the government is most likely to cause an outburst of dengue virus by the end of December,” University of Health and Sciences Department of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology Head Professor Aslam Khan told The Express Tribune. “This is the breeding season, the larva has emerged in every place of the city – people must take care of themselves.”

He added the virus should be wiped out before it affects people fatally. Since the beginning of October, the emerging cases of people affected by the virus have rung warning bells for the city district government. Reports from the city district government show the department has already washed out 8,000 dengue mosquito larvae, but that has only been done in posh localities of the city, including Defence Housing Authority (DHA).

Nevertheless, different hospitals in the city have been receiving people affected by the virus. Mayo Hospital, Jinnah Hospital, Services Hospital and Lahore General Hospital have received more than 100 patients suspected to be affected by the larvae.

At least 40 were tested positive of dengue virus, after results of their blood tests came from National Institute of Health, Islamabad.  All these 40 people were residents of DHA, Cantonment and their surrounding areas.

Inadequate efforts?

Although the health department has issued press releases, saying the provincial government was ready to provide extra resources to the district government to control the larvae, locals are not convinced with the efforts.

While talking to The Express Tribune Shah Muhammad, a resident of Cantonment area, said there is need for a more extensive drive against dengue. Merely placing banners in some locations and public parks and small advertisements on television channels will not bring fruitful result, he added.

“People are getting sick but they are only issuing press releases just to fool the people,” he said, adding there is a need of smart work, instead of hard work.

When contacted, Dengue Control Additional Director General Dr Fayyaz Butt said that in Lahore, no death of dengue patient has so far been reported, which is success on part of the Lahore administration. However, he added, the situation in Rawalpindi and other areas is different. “We are closely monitoring and taking different steps for creating awareness for the public.”

He maintained that from the last six months, at least 80 cases of people with dengue positive symptoms have emerged in different areas of the city, but no deaths has been reported and all patients returned home after being treated.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2016.

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