More dengue cases amid all-under-control claims

118 more cases have been report­ed across the city.


Ali Usman August 28, 2011

LAHORE:


The Health Department and City District Government might keep making claims about having dengue under control but the number of dengue cases continues to rise.


On Saturday, 118 more cases of dengue infection were reported in hospitals across the city. Four cases of dengue were reported in other cities of the Punjab including two in Multan, one in Gujranwala and one in Rahim Yar Khan.

According to a Health Department report, 14 cases of dengue infection were reported at the Institute of Public Health, 11 cases at Lahore General Hospital, 11 cases at Mayo Hospital, 38 cases at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, one case at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, four cases at Services Hospital, 26 cases at Fauji Foundation, Four cases at Ghurki Hospital, one case at Kot Khwaja Saeed Hospital and two cases at Doctors Hospital.

Health Director General Dr Aslam Chaudhry said that under a new strategy one town of Lahore was now being covered with anti-mosquito spray and fogging per day. He said so far the anti-mosquito campaign had been completed in Shalimar Town, Data Ganj Bakhsh Town, Gulberg Town, Samanabad Town, Aziz Bhatti Town, Cantt, Ravi Town and Nishtar Town. He said the staff of the Solid Waste Management Department was removing heaps of garbage and WASA was fixing leaking water pipes.

Dr Chaudhry said the dengue situation in Punjab was under control. “Diagnosis and treatment facilities are provided free of cost to everyone, without any discrimination. There are plenty of platelet transfusion kits in case of a dengue crisis,” he said.

The doctor stressed that public cooperation was a must in effectively controlling dengue. Dengue is not only affecting Pakistan, it is the major viral disease gripping the world at the moment, with more than 2.5 billion peoples at risk, he said. “People should not panic. Mortality associated with dengue fever is far less than that of viral hepatitis, diabetes, hypertension, CVA, and even road side accidents,” Dr Chaudhry said.

EDO (Health) Dr Umar Farooq Baloch said that people shouldn’t be afraid of dengue as it was a curable disease.

At Services Hospital, additional medical superintendents, deputy medical superintendents, doctors, nurses and other staff have been assigned duties for Eidul Fitr holidays. The staff at the OPD will serve in Emergency and other wards due to closure of OPD from August 31 to September 4, 2011.

According to Services Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Muhammad Javed, days off for sanitary inspectors and security staff of all three shifts have been cancelled and the additional medical superintendent, the administration and nursing superintendents would not be authorised to allow additional leave or a day off to their staff.

Dr Javed directed the security officer to be vigilant and ensure that no security guard leaves his position until the arrival of the next shift. Administrative doctors will also monitor the performance of all the deputed staff ensuring the provision of diagnostic facilities and medicines to patients in the Emergency Ward during their duty hours.

Dr Javed directed the social welfare officers to take care of the needs of poor and deserving patients during Eid holidays. He also directed the sanitation staff to maintain cleanliness throughout the hospital, the residential colony and the hostels. He also directed the concerned staff to keep the generator functional, the ambulances on stand by and the blood bank staff to be alert. He warned that strict action will be taken against absentees.

A spokesman for the Health Department said much like Services Hospital arrangements had been made in all public teaching hospitals to facilitate patients during the Eid holidays. He said that dengue wards at teaching hospitals would run round the clock.

Pakistan Medical Society chairman Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh, speaking to The Express Tribune, said that efforts were being made to genetically modify the dengue-carrying mosquito so that its life span was reduced from the normal of 2 to 3 weeks to 2 to 5 days. “The virus needs 3 to 5 days in the mosquito’s body before it is finally capable of spreading the virus to people. In comings days dengue control will be based on the genetically engineered virus and reduction of the life span of the adult Aedies mosquito which spreads dengue,” he added.

Dr Sheikh said that platelets transfusion, though a very important treatment option in dengue, should be reserved for special cases only, as undue transfusions result in transfusion-related risks like hepatitis C and B and HIV, in addition to a hypersensitivity reaction.

He suggested that a platelet level as low as 30,000 can be managed by effective and close monitoring of the patients. He said that the platelet kits were being sold at 10 to 15 times of their fair price due to the panic in general public.

He said that effective control of dengue fever was not possible with out community participation, adding that advocacy campaigns should be organised all over the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.

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