In absence of a mechanism to monitor dengue patients entering the country, Rawalpindi’s Holy Family Hospital has received two more patients who contracted the disease out of the country.
Central Health Establishment Director General Dr Muhammad Malik Bugti told The Express Tribune that at the moment, airports all over the country have installed scanners that check incoming passengers for Swine flu, Ebola, SARS and Yellow Fever “but since dengue has largely remained an indigenous epidemic, there is no mechanism for conducting checkups for the disease so far”.
Dr Munir Ahmed Mangrio, head of National Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, said currently there is no mechanism for information sharing and coordination among the relevant departments at the national level to plug this gap.
Dr Tahir Sharif, deputy medical superintendent at HFH’s Dengue Ward, said out of the four patients, three contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia and one got it from Malaysia.
He added that currently these patients are going through an inspection period and are being kept in isolation. “Both the new entrants had already been tested positive as dengue virus carriers at the country of origin,” informed Sharif.
One of the patients who contracted the virus from Mecca told The Express Tribune that he works in a construction company there and out of around 8,000 employees there, some 1,200 have been diagnosed positive for dengue. The patient was admitted at a hospital there for two days before he traveled back to Pakistan.
Sharif said the other patient who was already tested positive for dengue reached Pakistan on May 26 and went to live in Okara with his family. “He approached HFH for medical assistance after a lapse of three days,” said Sharif.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2015.