Six new patients were brought in to the dengue unit of Saidu Teaching Hospital (STH) after being diagnosed with the virus on Saturday, taking this year’s toll in the district to 80.
The newly-identified patients belong to Skha Cheena, Sethi Mills Mohallah, Faizabad, Saidu Sharif and suburbs of Mingora.
“Of the six patients brought in today, only three were admitted and the remaining sent back home as they were not in critical condition,” said spokesman of the STH dengue unit, Roshan Ali. “The three under treatment include two males and one female. The total number of discharged patients this year has reached 77.”
This is the second consecutive year of dengue fever, which broke out for the first time in Swat last year. Over 9,000 people suffered from the infection and 37 lives have been claimed, according to official records. The unofficial death toll, however, indicates 63 people lost their lives last year.
The outbreak this year has mainly affected Skha Cheena area in Amankot, where the virus has infected nearly 60 people, while the remaining patients come from surrounding areas.
According to residents of the affected areas, the district administration and health department initially took steps to eliminate dengue and non-governmental organisations conducted awareness programmes, but all measures have since receded.
“In the beginning, both government and NGO officials paid frequent visits for the elimination of dengue,” a resident of Amankot, Fazal Wahid, told The Express Tribune. “However, they have not come back since, even though the virus keeps spreading.”
On the other hand, district administration officials claim teams formed by the health department visit regularly and that effective steps are being taken for the elimination of dengue fever.
The officials claim that proper medical facilities are being provided to affected people and that the virus is much milder this year. No death has been reported due to dengue so far this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2014.