In the wake of monsoon rains in and around the city, the threat of an outbreak dengue epidemic has surfaced in the district.
Health officials have confirmed that two dengue patients have been admitted to the local Allied Hospital. A teaching insulation of the Punjab Medical College has also stated that eight similar cases have been reported from rural areas where they are seeking treatment from private clinics.
“We have begun to get confirmed reports of the virus and we have already placed all DHQ hospitals on alert. Vaccines are being ordered,” said Dr Azhar Rauf.
Hospital officials told The Express Tribune on Tuesday that Chak No63-JB resident Muhammad Sajawal was brought to Allied Hospital with a high fever. “His condition worsened at the hospital and his tests confirmed the dengue virus,” said Dr Rauf.
Another patient was brought in later, the same day, and doctors confirmed that the fever was not a regular cold but a symptom of the dengue virus. After testing and collection of blood samples, labs have confirmed the two cases of dengue virus. “Both cases are quite severe and the fever is rising. We have administered the vaccine,” he said.
Allied Hospital administration has set up a fully functional ward for the dengue virus. Isolation booths have also been established for patients. “We are expecting an influx.
Last year when the virus spread we began receiving dozens of cases. We already have confirmed reports of eight cases in smaller tehsils,” said an administration official at the hospital. Public health experts have warned that if preventive measures are not taken on an emergency basis by all concerned authorities the virus will spread swiftly throughout the district. “Hospitals need to have an adequate supply of vaccines and isolation booths,” said Health Department official Dr Mubasshir Kayani. “The monsoon spell has made the situation worse and the virus is likely to spread quicker due to the rains,” he said.
“The district authorities need to ensure that a spray is carried out as soon as possible,” he said. “The rains and ponds of water offer the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and residents should start carrying mosquito repellent with them,” he said. Health authorities said that due to the indifferent attitude of local health authorities, dengue patients are constrained to visit costly private hospitals. “We need to ensure that DHQ hospitals and care centres are working properly.
Otherwise many people will not be able to afford treatment,” Dr Kayani said. Health experts said that a patients’ blood needed to be tested on the spot by using an Eliza analyser. “This will save time and in case of testing positive, the patient should immediately be moved to an isolation ward,” he said. They further stressed that health authorities should also ensure availability of platelet kits and Eliza kits for tests at all the hospitals of the city as well as tehsil level hospitals.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.