Two more patients tested positive for the dengue virus on Saturday, taking Swat district’s dengue count to 25 this year.
The focal person for Saidu Teaching Hospital’s dengue cell, Roshan Ali, told The Express Tribune that 45-year-old Begum and 14-year-old Umair Khan were brought to the hospital and exhibited symptoms of dengue fever. “Their blood tests confirmed they had contracted the virus,” said Ali.
Out of the 25 patients admitted to STH so far, 21 have been discharged after recovering completely, he added. “Four patients, including three men and one woman, are being kept in the dengue cell,” said Ali.
Kicking into action
This year’s first suspected dengue case in Swat was reported from Shahdara, Babuzai tehsil.
Following this, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government formulated a dengue plan for 2014 to outline the roles of various line departments and non-governmental organisations in fighting the potentially deadly virus.
The district administration has also imposed Section 144 on storing tyres in open air and leaving water containers uncovered.
Swat Deputy Commissioner Mahmood Aslam Wazir said in a media briefing on Friday that regular meetings are being held with NGOs and relevant government departments to implement the dengue control plan.
“Proper measures are being taken to not only eliminate the existing larvae but also create awareness among communities about its control and eradication,” said Wazir.
Mosquito breeding ground
According to data collected by health officials who conducted vector surveillance in Mingora and its suburbs, plenty of dengue larvae were found in several union councils.
Assistant Commissioner Ashfaq Khan, who is also the district administration’s focal person for dengue, said, “After the initial door-to-door survey, the teams concluded that 39.8% of dengue larvae were found in Gumbat Maria, Rang Mohallah and Malookabad union councils, 18% in Amankot union council, 16% in Saidu Sharif union council and 15% percent in Shahadara Watkey, Banr and Nawakalay union councils.”
Health experts say that to avoid dengue fever fatalities this year, the provincial government must take comprehensive measures and assist the district administration and health department by providing funds to combat the virus. A large-scale dengue outbreak hit Swat district last year, lasting several months. The disease also spilled over into neighbouring Mansehra, Buner and Shangla districts.
In Swat, a total of 9,038 dengue patients were registered in 2013 and the fever claimed 37 lives as per official records, however, the unofficial figure was said to be 63.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.