MIRANSHAH: Measles claimed the lives of two more infants in North Waziristan on Tuesday, increasing the number of people killed by the disease to 18 since April.
An 18-month-old girl and one-year-old boy died of measles pneumonitis in Darpa Khel area of tehsil Miranshah, said Agency Headquarters Hospital Miranshah MS Dr Muhammad Sadiq, adding that 25 more people are admitted at the hospital.
The outbreak of measles started in April across the Agency. Sadiq said that in the past week many patients have come from Darpa Khel and Madakhel because the localities have major sanitation problems. “We started vaccinating children but the disease resurfaced after a gap of one month,” he said, adding that most of the vaccines provided by the government have expired because of high temperatures and prolonged power outages.
“Most of the children in Darpa Khel are suffering from the disease,” said Dr Muhammad Ali, a paediatrician at the hospital, adding that three of the 25 patients admitted have measles pneumonitis. “We discharged 70 patients on Tuesday after giving them medication,” he added.
He said that treatment cannot be provided for measles pneumonitis because the patient’s body stops responding to medicines and people die within three days.
The pediatrician said that most of the patients at the hospital were shifted from Khost, Afghanistan. “The Pakistani government could not vaccinate children from Afghanistan and when the epidemic broke there, patients came to Pakistan for treatment, infecting children here.”
Ali added that more vaccines are needed. “If we are not given enough vaccines we will not be able to control the situation,” he said, adding that they have asked authorities in Peshawar to assist them.
He said that the deaths have been reported in Shawal, Datta Khel Birmal and Miranshah.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2012.
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