ISLAMABAD: Medical experts have advised citizens of the twin cities to take special preventative measures to protect themselves from mosquitoes. They said citizens should properly dispose of solid waste and stop storing water in open containers as mosquitoes breed primarily in containers like earthenware jars, metal drums and concrete cisterns used for water storage, as well as discarded plastic food containers, tyres, and other items that can collect rainwater, they said.
Dr Wasim Khawaja of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Thursday said that the dengue virus, a mosquito-borne disease, has become a major public health concern in recent years. He said dengue fever is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, children and adults. Its spread is attributed to expanding geographic distribution of the four dengue viruses and of their mosquito vectors, the most important of which is the predominantly urban species aedes aegypti, he added.
He said rapid growth of urban population is bringing greater number of people in contact with the vector, especially in areas favourable for mosquito breeding. He said dengue virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of virus-carrying aedes mosquitos. Mosquitoes generally pick up the virus from the blood of infected persons, he added.
He said after virus incubation for eight to 10 days, and a carrier mosquito is capable of transmitting the virus to susceptible individuals for the rest of its life.
He said the virus circulates in blood of infected humans for two to seven days, approximately the same time a person suffers from fever. The clinical features of dengue fever vary according to age of the patient, he added.
Dr Sharif Astori of Polyclinic said infants and young children may have a non-specific febrile illness with rashes while older children and adults may have either a mild febrile syndrome or the classical incapacitating disease with abrupt onset and high fever, severe headache, pain behind eyes, muscle and joint pains and rashes. He said dengue haemorrhagic fever is a potentially deadly complication that is characterised by high fever, haemorrhagic phenomena.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2015.