ISLAMABAD / RAWALPINDI: With the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi caught in the middle of a dengue epidemic, another viral fever patient lost his life to the treatable infection on Sunday.
This raises the death toll from dengue to three in the region.
Health officials at the Holy Family Hospital (HFH) said that 20-year-old Sarim Tariq was under treatment for the dengue virus and succumbed to the viral fever on Sunday.
The body of the Faisal Colony resident was later handed over to his distraught family, hospital officials say. This is the third death from the viral fever in the past month in Rawalpindi. Earlier in the month, a man and a woman, who was receiving treatment at the HFH and the Benazir Bhutto General Hospital (BBH) respectively, had lost their lives to dengue.
The twin cities have seen a massive spike in dengue cases over the past week as they lead in the overall number of dengue cases reported across the country.
According to data released by health authorities in Rawalpindi on Sunday, as many as 148 suspected dengue patients were brought in for treatment in the two cities over the past 24 hours.
Of these, 63 were in Islamabad while the remaining 84 were from the garrison city.
In Rawalpindi, whereas many as 1,479 dengue cases have been reported thus far, the worst-hit area is Potohar Town from where 35 patients were brought to hospitals.
Cantonment areas and Rawal Town were second with 22 residents brought in for dengue treatment.
In the federal capital, as many as 806 cases of dengue have been reported thus far.
In other districts of the Rawalpindi division including Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum, a total of eight, 10 and two cases were reported respectively. The region accounts for a total of 2,385 cases.
The report further stated that the three allied hospitals including BBH, HFH and the District Headquarters (DHQ) hospital have so far collectively treated and discharged 985 dengue patients.
Health experts suggested the citizens take preventive measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Meanwhile, the health department has increased man-power in the anti-dengue crash programme to make it more effective.
With hundreds of dengue cases reported, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration has said that they are taking all necessary steps for limiting and controlling the further transmission of the dengue fever.
In a communiqué, the ICT administration said that for the first time, they were tagging dengue patients from the rural areas of the federal capital on the Punjab IT Board (PITB) Dashboard for the viral fever. It added that all dengue patients are responded with IRS within 24 hours of reporting, including fumigation and IRS in 49 houses around the case house.
Moreover, five hospitals in the city have started tagging patients admitted for dengue so that the DHO and DHS field teams can respond.
Hospitals of the city have been directed to follow the standard dengue protocols for the prevention, control and treatment of dengue fever.
Hospitals have reserved 10% of all beds for dengue patients while these patients were being provided with free treatment.
Further, the Islamabad district magistrate has imposed a ban on any kind of accumulation of fresh and stagnant water along with other breeding spots such as in junkyards and tyre shops. In this regard, as many as 15 junk and scrap yards in Rawat and Bhara Kahu alone have been sealed for violating the ban. Further, unusable tyres at petrol pumps, CNG Stations, puncture shops, rooftops, etc have been confiscated by assistant commissioners in their respective areas while fines are being imposed.
A special dengue cell has also been set up in ICT Administration under the supervision of Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr Asif Rahim. Moreover, daily reports of dengue cases as well as facilities are being provided to the cell for onward action by field teams.
Citizens have also been sensitised about dengue fever and precautionary measures through social media as well as print media and Ulema. Along with this, Larvicide campaigns are being carried out to ensure surveillance and larvae elimination.
Further, clean-up operations have been carried out in Tarnol and Rawat in collaboration with the sanitation directorate of the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) for removal of garbage and solid waste.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2019.