Uptick in dengue cases sets off alarm bells

Rawalpindi, Lahore top contributors to year’s highest daily figure

ADNAN LODHI August 25, 2022


Punjab recorded the highest number of dengue patients in a day during the ongoing year on Wednesday with 81 fresh cases of the fever reported in 24 hours.

The disease is at its peak in two big districts of the province, Rawalpindi and Lahore. During the 24 hours, at least 40 patients of dengue fever were confirmed in Rawalpindi, while 28 were brought to hospitals in Lahore.

A health department official blamed poor preventive arrangements by the district administrations and the healthcare authorities to counter dengue and demanded a health emergency. Despite claims of the Punjab health department regarding preventive measures, the authorities have failed to eliminate dengue fever from Punjab. The highest number of patients in a day during 2022 were brought to government and private hospitals on Wednesday.

The monitoring department of Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department confirmed 81 fresh patients. The record figure was reported at a time when the Punjab government is observing a dengue week in the province's schools.

The school administrations are making efforts to eliminate the virus and spray is carried out in classrooms to eradicate the dengue mosquitoes.

The local administration in all districts of Punjab are also actively engaged in anti-dengue campaigns.

Indoor and outdoor dengue surveillance is continuing and as a result the situation is under control in many districts.

However, the situation is different in Lahore and Rawalpindi districts that are facing a steady increase in dengue fever cases. The annual Monsoon rain season is considered a high-risk period with respect to dengue. "There is pressure now on the Punjab government and health department to handle the situation in Lahore and Rawalpindi districts," a senior official of Punjab health department told The Express Tribune.

He said the two districts had the maximum dengue larva hotspots identified before the start of Monsoon. Task had been given to local administrations to improve the situation.

Anti-dengue surveillance was necessary for the purpose, but the local administration in both the cities apparently failed to make effective arrangements in this regard.

The official said the two districts were at a high risk of dengue and emergency should be imposed in their hospitals.

He said the coming two months would also have a high risk of rise of dengue cases and there is need that the Punjab government should take practical steps to handle the situation.

Otherwise, the situation will worsen in the coming days, he warned. The official said the provincial government had also taken notice of the local administration not taking serious steps to prevent the spread of dengue this year. Health department spokesman Sayed Hamad Raza said all necessary steps were being taken to bring the situation under control at the earliest.

"We received 81 dengue patients today, including 40 in Rawalpindi, 28 in Lahore, four in Sheikhupura, two each in Chakwal and Multan, and one each in Gujrat, Sahiwal and Kasur," Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Secretary Imran Sikandar Baloch announced.

He said three deaths caused by dengue fever had been reported in Punjab during the current season.

"There are 117 dengue patients admitted to hospitals in Punjab, including 44 in Lahore," he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2022.


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