About 50 per cent of the world's population is at risk of catching vector-borne diseases, which account for over 17 per cent of all infectious diseases and cause more than a million deaths each year.
From these infectious diseases, more than 2.5 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk of contracting dengue alone, said speakers at an awareness seminar on World Health Day organised by Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) at its Ojha Campus. The provision of technical support is needed to effectively manage cases and outbreaks of vector-borne diseases, they added.
This year's health day theme was preventing and controlling vector-borne diseases. The seminar highlighted public health issues and emphasised the need to create awareness, particularly among the youth of the society. The seminar's chief guest Professor Illahi Bux Soomro, a former principal of the medical college, said a preventive strategy is needed to control vector-borne diseases.
Assistant Professor Dr Kashif Shafique said that malaria causes more than 600,000 deaths globally each year and with the highest number of deaths reported under the age of five. Citing the World Health Organisation, he said there are more than 100 million dengue infections worldwide every year and about 2.5 per cent of those affected die from the deadly disease.
Shafique also said that, since 2010, Pakistan has been suffering from the epidemic of dengue fever that has led to 16,580 confirmed cases of the virus, with 257 deaths in Lahore alone and nearly 5,000 cases and 60 deaths in the rest of the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2014.
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