Every year, during the monsoon season, the risk of a dengue outbreak increases as the weather conditions provide dengue larvae with a breeding ground. Currently, Rawalpindi’s district administration has issued a red alert for at least three areas after a large number of cases emerged. The prevailing weather conditions coupled with accumulated water on roads and water stored in open containers allow mosquitos to breed and spread in the entire city. The authorities’ failure to issue precautions and inform people about prevention measures is irresponsible because a widespread outbreak will further add to the country’s problems.
Besides Rawalpindi, dengue cases have surfaced in other towns and cities including Karachi and Lahore. The situation in these cities can be tackled with the assistance of the healthcare system and special teams for inspection. Residents must take Rawalpindi’s situation as a sign to avoid storing water in open containers and the municipal administration should initiate widespread mosquito fumigation. Water management authorities in all provinces should ensure a continuous supply of water so that people don’t need to store it.
People in flood-affected areas are at direct risk of contracting dengue virus and other diseases emerging from the accumulation of water and overall unsanitary conditions. Therefore, those involved in relief efforts must ensure the provision of mosquito repellents and adequate medicines to protect the people. In the past, Pakistan has experienced deadly dengue outbreaks resulting in a national emergency. Another widespread outbreak would strain government resources and pose severe problems for the government in terms of allocating resources for the different crises. Our frail healthcare system would also struggle to manage the virus outbreak along with Covid and facilitate flood victims. Thus, the municipal administrations and the public should stay vigilant and take safety measures.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2022.