Six more deaths from the deadly dengue virus were reported in Lahore on Tuesday.
Khalil, 32, succumbed to the virus at Mayo Hospital, while Javed, 35, Muhammad Mubarik, 25, Parveen, 40, and Muhammad Suba, 65, died at General Hospital. Muqaddas, 20, passed away at Jinnah Hospital. The deaths, however, are yet to be confirmed by the Punjab Health Department.
The unofficial death count has now reached 44 in Punjab, whereas the health department has put the death toll at 19.
In Lahore, with the number of patients exceeding 6,200, public and private hospitals have run out of beds to admit new patients. Doctors are now advising dengue tests only to those patients who have been suffering from a fever for at least three consecutive days.
In Faisalabad, 20 more cases of dengue were reported and 75 other suspected patients are under treatment. EDO Health Dr Abdur Rauf said that among new cases, eight are from Faisalabad district, nine from Lahore district and one each from Chiniot, Jhang and Muzaffargarh districts.
Meanwhile, over 1,000 suspected cases of dengue fever have been reported in federal hospitals so far, of which 160 have been tested positive.
Punjab govt measures
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reiterated that the scourge of the dengue virus will be controlled through collective efforts and a coordinated strategy. He said that short and long term policies are being evolved for eradication of dengue. The chief minister issued instructions for raising the daily wage of employees conducting sprays from Rs325 to Rs500.
While presiding over a review meeting regarding the ongoing campaign against the virus, Sharif said that a team of Sri Lankan experts has described dengue virus as a social issue and said that in addition to government efforts, people will also have to play their role in maintaining cleanliness in their houses, streets and surroundings.
Dengue in Karachi
Another 14 cases of dengue were reported in Sindh on Tuesday, out of which 10 were from Karachi and four were from Ghotki. The total number of cases in the province now stands at 317. Around the same time last year, the number of cases stood at 345.
Unlike Congo, there is no anti-viral drug for dengue, and prevention is the best cure for this virus.
(Additional reporting by Sehrish Wasif in Islamabad and Mahnoor Sherazee in Karachi)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2011.