KARACHI: Dengue Prevention and Control Program Manager Dr Mehmood Iqbal has said that majority of dengue cases in Karachi are reported from the city’s East, West and South districts. He revealed this information while addressing a press conference at his office.
Dr Iqbal said that four people have died due to dengue in the current year. He said that the highest number of dengue cases in Karachi, a total of 6,000, were reported in 2013, adding that 809 cases of dengue have been reported this year, so far. As many as 2,088 cases of dengue were reported in 2018 and 2,927 in 2017, he added.
He further said that usually a rise is observed in the number of dengue cases between August and November, and awareness needs to be created among the public to curb the spread of dengue, particularly during this period. People have to be repeatedly reminded of ways to prevent the occurrence of dengue, in order to curb the spread of the disease, he said.
Speaking with reference to dengue control and mitigation, he said that World Health Organisation has set a target to reduce the prevalence of dengue by 25% and the number of deaths caused by the disease up to 25%, by 2020. “Working in line with this objective, our team is in the process of collecting data regarding dengue from 136 sites in Sindh and health department officials visit all locations where dengue cases are reported,” he added.
He also revealed that the health department has access to software, created by SUPARCO, to manage the data, and highlighted the importance of constructing isolation wards, as a preventative measure, in case of a dengue outbreak. Dr Iqbal reflected that the health department cannot do much if pollution, garbage and litter dumps are not removed, which are some of the main causes of dengue. He pointed out that puddles and open water tanks also play a huge role in the spread of dengue.
Prevalence of dengue is a global issue, he remarked. According to Dr Iqbal, 40% of the world population is prone to getting affected by dengue and around 50 million to 100 million cases of dengue are reported around the world each year. However, it can be treated and it takes only about seven to 10 days for the treatment to complete, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2019.