PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa senior minister for health Shahram Khan Tarakai has called an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss steps to control the dengue outbreak in parts of the provincial capital.

A statement issued here said the meeting would be attended by the health secretary, director general (health), district nazim, district health officer, director (public health), head of the entomology department at the Agriculture University Peshawar and representatives of World Health Organisation.

An increasing incidence of dengue has been reported in Peshawar during the last few weeks. The health department says the city’s Khyber Teaching Hospital received 4,320 suspected cases of the mosquito-borne disease during the period and 831 of them were found positive.

According to it, 132 dengue patients are being treated in hospitals. A total of 352 people were shifted there for the said treatment and those, who had recovered from the health problem, were discharged. The outbreak of dengue has caused five deaths in the capital city.

The health department said it had been carrying out fumigation campaign for one month in Tehkal area of Peshawar city and that the exercise had been extended to Safid Dheri and Pishtakhara areas.

It said 46 lady health workers had also been dispatched to those areas to conduct public awareness campaign on dengue.

“LHWs are running a campaign in these areas on daily basis,” it said.

Mosquito-borne disease has claimed five lives in city in recent weeks

The department said the people could save themselves by following preventive measures.

It added that four medical camps had been set up in the affected areas to provide treatment to dengue patients without delay.

The department said it had written a letter to the hospital directors, district health officers and medical officers across the province to provide free laboratory testing services to all suspected dengue cases.

The letter said early diagnosis and prompt management of reported cases had a pivotal role in epidemic control strategy.

“The KP government being cognisant of the situation is taking all possible steps for the control of the epidemic,” it noted.

Deputy commissioner of Peshawar Saqib Raza Aslam told Dawn that the first suspected cases was reported of late in the limits of the Union Council 39 of Tehkal Bala area here.

He said UCs 38 and 39 were the most affected areas in the provincial capital besides Pishtakhara.

Mr Aslam said since the first case was reported, the district administration had been following standard operating procedures to control the outbreak, which included awareness campaign as well as regular fumigation sprays in the area.

The DC said LHWs were going from door to door in the dengue-hit areas to educate people about preventive measures against the disease, while the district and town administration teams were carrying out fumigation spray there twice a day.

He said the area had around 135 vehicle workshops, where old tyres were also traded.

“Apparently these establishments are to blame for the dengue outbreak,” he said.

The DC said the administration had set up three rapid testing camps in the area for the early diagnosis of dengue.

He said the dengue outbreak had also affected Pishtakhara area on the outskirts of Peshawar.

“Eighty-five per cent dengue cases originated from Tehkal,” he said, adding that around 50 cases were reported in Pishtakhara.

He however said the provincial director general (health services) had confirmed only one dengue related death in the provincial capital, while there were three suspected deaths from the mosquito-borne disease.

The DC said a total of 502 dengue cases had been reported in the city.

“Last year, 900 dengue cases were reported from across Peshawar,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2017