PESHAWAR: The dengue fever claimed another life in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday taking the death toll from the mosquito-borne disease in the province in the recent months to 21.

A news release issued by the Dengue Response Unit here said a total of 1,620 suspected patients visited the hospitals and 1,609 of them underwent investigation and 343 turned out to be positive cases.

It added that 88 patients were admitted bringing the number of those hospitalised for the disease to 391, while117 were sent home after recovery.

In the dengue-affected union councils, including Tehkal area, the mainstay of the virus, the health department in collaboration with the district government has cleared stagnant water pools and other mosquito breeding sites but the situation inside houses is the main hurdle to the problem’s resolution due to the presence of mosquito larva.

Death toll up to 21 after disease claims another life

“The problem is reported in houses, where larva have been found in water pots, air coolers, flowerpots, old tyres and other stuff stored on rooftops,” said Prof Iftikharuddin of the Bacha Khan Medical College, Mardan.

Prof Iftikhar, an anti-dengue expert, has been working as volunteer with the health department in view of his vast experience in Swat 2013, where the vector-borne ailment had killed 36 lives.

“In 2014 and 2015, we didn’t record any case in Swat due to a comprehensive strategy under which we carried out awareness campaign along with indoor and outdoor spray and larvicides in collaboration with the local communities,” he told Dawn.

Prof Iftikhar said they were trying to clear 100,000 houses in the infected areas to be able to get rid of the dengue cases, which could be done through cooperation of the people.

He said there were 18 potential mosquito breeding sites, which could be eliminated through the scaling up of public awareness drives.

“We are pouring larvicides on the water besides sparing walls and roofs of the houses but the main responsibilities lies with the people to eliminate the sources of breeding sites inside their houses. We have completely eliminated the outside sources of breeding sites of mosquitoes and are close to doing away with the infection but needed the public cooperation,” he said.

Prof Iftikhar said cases were received from Punjab, Karachi and even Malaysia.

He said dengue was endemic in at least 100 countries in Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean and that the World Health Organisation estimated that 50 to 100 million infections occur annually, including 500,000 cases and 22,000 deaths, mostly among children.

Prof Iftikhar said the entomologists deployed by the health department had been visiting the houses where they destroy larva besides asking the people about the desired steps.

He asked the people to wear shoes, socks and long-sleeved shirts, use mosquito repellents, mosquito coils and nets to stay safe from the mosquitoes’ bites avoid dengue fever.

“90 per cent of the dengue cases were asymptotic as they don’t develop any symptoms. Only 10 per cent develop sign symptoms out of those only 1 per cent develop complications and needs admission. The rest 9 per cent only needs paracetamol and good oral fluid intake,” he said.

HIGH DENGUE INCIDENCE: The growing incidence of dengue has been reported in Nowshera district.

The additional deputy commissioner told Dawn that 14 suspected dengue cases were reported in the district and six of them were later found to be positive.

He said no death from dengue had been reported in Nowshera.

Meanwhile, the sources claimed that local hospitals had admitted no dengue patient as such cases were referred to Peshawar and Mardan hospitals for treatment.

They said most dengue cases were reported in Ghala Dair, Zendo Banda, Kochi Dehre and Pir Sabaq areas.

The sources said four cases from Nowshera, including three women, had been admitted to the Mardan Medical Complex.

Meanwhile, the members of local bodies demanded the immediate start of anti-dengue spray across the district to control and prevent the mosquito-borne disease.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2017