A 10-year-old died of measles at Mayo Hospital’s paediatric ward on Wednesday, doctors said, becoming the first casualty of the disease in the city.
Muhammad Wasif was brought to the hospital on Tuesday night and had developed pneumonia. Another 10 children with measles were also admitted to Mayo Hospital.
“They are being kept in isolation as measles is a droplet infection, meaning it is highly contagious. If a kid with measles is kept in the ward with other kids, there is a 90 per cent chance all of them will catch measles,” said a doctor at the paediatric ward. “We may also face problems in accommodating all the kids in isolation due to space issues.”
A Health Department official said that 12 children infected with measles had been admitted to other public hospitals in Lahore, taking the total number of known cases in the city to 92.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday expressed concern about the rising number of measles cases and directed the Health Department to prepare an emergency plan within two days for the prevention of measles. He directed officials to make sure that the anti-measles vaccine is available in the province and to launch a public awareness campaign regarding preventive measures. Children in the affected areas must be vaccinated, he said at a meeting with Health Department officials.
Special Assistant on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique, the Planning and Development chairman, the Health, Law, Prosecution and Home secretaries, the acting inspector general of police, the Lahore commissioner, the Gujranwala commissioner, the Lahore DCO, the Health director general, the director general of the Forensic Science Laboratory and Dr Faisal Masood also attended the meeting.
Multan and Gujranwala
Forty cases of measles have been reported in Multan, and three children are currently under treatment, but there have been no deaths from the disease, according to EDO (Health) Dr Munawar. He said vaccination teams had been set up to inoculate children in affected areas. He said that the disease had arrived in the district from Sindh, where some 200 children are thought to have died in a recent outbreak.
Six new measles patients were reported in Gujranwala on Wednesday. Health officials said the children were being treated at Civil Hospital.
Health Director General Dr Nisar Cheema said the number of measles patients being reported in the Punjab was far less than Sindh, and the outbreak had not yet become an epidemic in the province. He said that more cases of measles had been reported in the Punjab in previous years than in this year so far.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2013.
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