It is well known that when the cause of a disease is known, it is easy to eliminate it altogether. Then why is it so that in Pakistan every year, during the rainy season, swarms of mosquitoes emerge or they are allowed to emerge. Among these are mosquitoes causing dengue and malaria. The dengue-causing mosquitoes breed in clean water though other species of the insect usually breed in stagnant rainwater. This year the twin cities of Islamabad and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have been hit hard by a dengue epidemic. In the past month, three people have died of dengue fever in Rawalpindi. The twin cities have seen a surge in dengue cases over the past week. They lead in the overall number of dengue cases reported across the country. According to figures released by health authorities in Rawalpindi on Sept 15, as many as 148 suspected dengue patients were brought in for treatment in the twin cities over the past 24 hours. The Islamabad Capital Territory Administration has announced that it is taking all necessary steps to control the dengue epidemic. Hospitals have reserved 10 per cent of all beds for dengue patients. Confirmed dengue patients are being provided with free treatment. The Islamabad district magistrate has announced action against those responsible for the accumulation of fresh or stagnant water. Action is also being taken against accumulation of water in junkyards and tyre shops.
A major outbreak of dengue fever occurred in Pakistan between 2008 and 2010. Gradually, the intensity of the epidemic has reduced but it does appear during every rainy season. A few years ago we had heard that a special variety of fish, which eats dengue-causing mosquitoes, has been imported from Sri Lanka. We don’t hear about this anymore. Whether it is dengue fever or any other disease the best prevention against them is cleanliness. However, given the present state of cleanliness in various regions of the country, it seems to be a distant dream.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2019.