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RAWALPINDI: Reports that Rawalpindi district has the highest number of dengue patients in the province have sent alarm bells ringing in the health department.

A senior official in the district administration told Dawn that 35 dengue patients have been reported in the district this season, while eight patients were reported in Lahore, two in Faisalabad and none in Gujranwala or Multan.

He said 11 dengue patients were from Gujar Khan, 11 from the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board, five from areas under the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation, four from union councils administered by the district council, two from the Chaklala Cantonment Board and two from Taxila.

More than 11 patients also came to government-run hospitals in Rawalpindi city from Islamabad, he said.

There are a total of 162 dengue patients registered with the Punjab health department, the official said, of which the highest number were from the Rawalpindi district.

“Although the number of dengue patients decreased this year, more work still needs to be done to control the dengue virus,” he said.

At present, none of the dengue patients in the city’s three government-run hospitals are in serious condition. More patients this year case from Daultala in Gujar Khan, because of which the district administration gave this area greater attention, he said.

The official added that the weather was changing, and it was expected that the dengue season would have ended earlier.

The district administration held a meeting on Tuesday to review the anti-dengue campaign chaired by Additional Deputy Commissioner Saima Younas.

The meeting was told that 35 dengue patients had been reported from the district, while 1,423 suspected patients had visited government-run hospitals. The health authority had focused on two tehsils in Gujar Khan and Taxila.

The number of teams was increased from 177 to 386 in Gujar Khan, and 85 t0 104 in Taxila, which were conducting door-to-door visits to detect dengue larvae.

Health authority officials said dengue larvae were found in 27 areas in Gujar Khan and Taxila, while dengue mosquitoes were found at 94 sites. They said the provincial government directed them to conduct case response fogging in the area.

According to the standard operating procedure issued by the Punjab government in 2014, the health department has to spray anti-dengue medicines in 160 houses around the house where larvae are found.

The police’s Special Branch also pointed out sites where stagnant water and garbage had been found in the street.

The provincial government had tasked the Special Branch with taking photographs of areas where stagnant water can be seen or garbage has been dumped in open spaces to be shared with the district administration’s weekly meeting.

The meeting was also informed of construction sites where stagnant water had become a breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes.

Ms Younas asked the department to coordinate in order to control dengue, adding that while the number of patients from the district was lower than in previous years, efforts were needed to control it completely in the coming days.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018