Home, the first front in fight against dengue

Updated October 09, 2013

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The micrograph of Aedes aegyptii, the main vector of dengue in Pakistan.- image courtesy Dr Syed Salahuddin Qadri.
The micrograph of Aedes aegyptii, the main vector of dengue in Pakistan.- image courtesy Dr Syed Salahuddin Qadri.

KARACHI: Scholars and experts at a dengue awareness conference stressed that the fight against the virus should start from home and its surroundings.

Speaking at an Anti-Dengue Day event held at the Jinnah University for Women (JUW) in collaboration with the Sindh Health Department, experts said that anti-dengue sprays are effective against adult mosquito's while the larvae on the other hand remains unharmed even in a teaspoon full of water.

The conference was part of an awareness campaign by the Sindh Health Department to find health awareness volunteers to further educate the masses about the virus.

In her opening remarks, former dean faculty of Science at the University of Karachi, Shahana Urooj Kazmi said that the dengue fever is epidemic in Karachi. She said that towns of Nazimabad, North Nazimabad and other areas are badly affected with the disease.

She said the main purpose of the event is to raise awareness amongst students about the prevalence of the disease, its vectors and preventable measures, so that they can further educate their communities about the threat.

In his key lecture, Syed Salahuddin Qadri, Assistant Professor of Zoology at Jamia Milia Degree College, said that dengue was first observed in 1928 and also reported in 1934 in the areas now called Pakistan.

A type of mosquito - Aedes Aegyptii is responsible for majority of dengue cases in Pakistan.

“Public awareness is the only way to prevent dengue fever,” said Syed Salahuddin Qadri

“Spray does little to control the dengue as the mosquito can be found in flush tanks, abandoned junk, rooftops and even in closed underground tanks,” said Qadri.

The anti-dengue fumigation could trigger resistance in the vector against the insecticides.

Qadri urged people to investigate the mosquito habitat carefully as it is found in water from air conditions, gardens and potted plants. He said that he even found larva of a dengue mosquito in a soft drink cap.

‘Guppy fishes are the best agent for the biological control of dengue mosquito,’ he added.

He urged all the students to check the open water in their surroundings at least once a week and throw the larvae on the ground but not drain them into the sewerage.

He said that the drained larva of Aedes Aegyptii flourished and even appeared healthier in sewerage water.

He asked the students to go to their communities and raise awareness about what they had learnt from the lecture.

Later the EDO health Dr Zafar Aijaz said that with the help of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, his department fumigates many parts of Karachi with more than 60 vehicles. However he stated that a sudden rise of dengue cases was also observed after the anti-dengue sprays were used in many areas.

He said that 526 cases of dengue were observed in the month of September.