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Dengue toll in July up to three as youth dies

July 24, 2013
—File Photo.
—File Photo.

KARACHI: A 22-year-old man died of dengue in a private-sector hospital, officials confirmed on Tuesday, saying that the death toll caused by the deadly dengue fever rose to three this month and five this year.

Mohammad Nauman was admitted to a private hospital of New Karachi on July 15 in a precarious condition.

The victim was a resident of New Karachi. However, officials did not disclose any personal details of the victim to the media.Officials in the dengue surveillance cell, Sindh, said the man died late Monday evening, but they got the confirmation on Tuesday.

He was the third man to die of dengue this month. The two others, including a woman, died on July 2 and 15. They belonged to Orangi Town and North Karachi.

So far five patients have died this year, including two women.

Officials said some 20 dengue patients were still admitted to different hospitals and 12 new cases had been reported in the city while one case was detected in Kambar Shahdadkot district.

Some eight patients were discharged from hospitals after treatment on Tuesday.

Nauman was the second victim of the deadly fever from New Karachi; another was from North Karachi and one each was from Orangi and Gulshan-i-Iqbal.

Officials have initially identified North Nazimabad, SITE, Clifton Cantonment, Saddar Town and Gulistan-i-Jauhar as the ‘vulnerable areas’ and decided to give them ‘special attention’.

According to the data compiled by the dengue surveillance cell, close to 500 dengue cases have been reported in Sindh this year. Most cases have been reported in Karachi, barring 13 from the rest of the province.

Last year, more than 700 cases of dengue fever were reported, of which two people died, including a woman.

In 2011, 858 dengue cases and 16 related deaths were reported in Karachi.

The provincial health department has warned the local healthcare providers to take urgent steps to combat the possible ‘dengue epidemic’ in view of the weather forecast warning that the city could receive 15 per cent more rain this monsoon than the historic aggregate.

Officials said none of the city’s areas could be termed a ‘dengue-protected’ neighbourhood as people from almost every locality had been affected by the deadly fever since 2005.Provincial malaria control programme officials have been asked to allocate 25 per cent of its insecticides to Karachi and work hand in hand with the city’s municipal authorities to combat malaria and dengue.

Official figures show that dengue fever’s first incidence in Karachi was reported in 1994 when 145 confirmed cases were recorded, of whom one victim had died.

The disease hibernated since then till 2005 when the authorities recorded 258 cases, of whom 16 had died. Year 2006 was the deadliest year in which 49 of the 1,500 patients died.

The authorities then turned to an efficient mode in the next two years during which 20 of the 931 confirmed cases died.

Since 2009 when the city last saw a local government, 59 people of the 6,589 confirmed cases have died. Year 2010 was the worst when 3,382 confirmed cases were reported.

According to the World Health Organisation, dengue is the world's fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a “pandemic threat”, infecting an estimated 50 million people across all continents.

Transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes, the disease is occurring more widely due to an increased movement of people and goods —including carrier objects such as bamboo plants and used tyres — as well as floods linked to climate change, the United Nations agency said.

The viral disease, which affected only a handful of areas in the 1950s, is now present in more than 125 countries — significantly more than malaria, historically the most notorious mosquito-borne disease.

The most advanced vaccine against dengue is only 30 per cent effective, test showed last year.

The aggregate age of the five dead victims this year is 24. The youngest victim was a 20-year-old girl from New Karachi and the oldest a 34-year-old man from Gulshan-i-Iqbal.