LAHORE: Public health experts have advised the activists of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to protect themselves against mosquito bite during the party’s sit-in at Islamabad to avoid dengue fever.

There was a consensus among the experts attending a meeting of the Punjab cabinet committee on dengue, presided over by Chief Minister’s Adviser on Health Salman Rafique on Monday, that “any slackness can result in dengue outbreak through the protesters coming from far-flung areas”.

“All going to Islamabad for the sit-in should wear full dress and use mosquito repellent to protect themselves against mosquito bite as there is an outbreak of dengue there (Islamabad),” said Prof Waseem Akram, who is in-charge of Chief Minister Dengue Research Cell, and Dr Somia Iqtidar, the dean of the Institute of Public Health.

Both the experts apprehended that sustainability of temperature and warm weather during the day might extend dengue season up to mid-December.

Prof Waseem Akram said with the decrease in night temperature, the mosquito would move inside houses and there would be a likelihood of increased number of dengue patients. He said that targeted fogging and indoor residual spray had been suggested to eradicate the adult dengue mosquito.

Earlier, Dengue Control Programme Additional Director-General Dr Fayyaz Butt informed the meeting that in 2015 more than 2,700 confirmed dengue patients were reported in Rawalpindi, while during the current year 897 patients had so far been reported.

Last year, said Dr Butt, no dengue patient was reported in Islamabad. However, during 2016 a total 1,644 dengue patients have so far been reported in Islamabad. The majority of the patients were treated in the hospitals of Rawalpindi and still there were dengue patients from Islamabad admitted to the Benazir Bhutto, Holy Family and District Headquarters hospitals of Rawalpindi.

The district coordination officers and executive district officers (health) of Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Sargodha, Jhelum and Attock apprised the meeting, through video link, of the dengue situation and the measures taken in their respective districts to check its spread.

Lahore DCO retired captain Muhammad Usman and officers from Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), Meteorological Department and Special Branch also attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2016

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