RAWALPINDI: Although the number of dengue cases being reported has fallen, people are still vulnerable to the virus because dengue mosquitoes may enter homes to escape the cooler temperatures outside.

Experts were of the view that those who suffered from the dengue virus last season could also face dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome due to weakened immune systems and a different strain of the virus.

Focal person at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) Dr Anayatur Rehman said most of the people who suffer from dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome suffered from dengue fever last year and were bitten by the mosquito again.

He said children, elderly people and women, particularly pregnant women, can also suffer from this because their immunity is low and they cannot overcome the virus.

He said that the condition of such patients then deteriorates and they are moved to the intensive care unit. Many private clinics do not have the expertise to manage such cases, Dr Rehman said, as government-run hospitals have trained their doctors to manage critical patients and save their lives.

In the last nine years, Punjab’s government-run hospitals have managed to gain expertise in managing dengue patient care, and most people who visit these hospitals are saved, he claimed.

“Due to low temperature, dengue mosquitoes will enter warm places inside houses and women, children and elderly people could fall victim to the virus in the coming days. Safety measures need to be adopted for two or three weeks,” he said.

A meeting of the district administration chaired by Deputy Commissioner Saifullah Dogar also discussed dengue.

Mr Dogar asked the administration to raise awareness among people about precautionary measures such as keeping homes clean so dengue mosquitoes do not enter their houses in the coming days.

He said teams should carry out dengue larvae surveillance in sensitive areas. He added that dengue patients have decreased in the last month of the campaign but work in this regard has not ended and needs to continue with greater dedication to protect people from the virus in the next few weeks.

The meeting was told that 140 dengue patients visited three government-run hospitals in the last 24 hours, of which 50 were from Rawalpindi. BBH received 40 patients, Holy Family Hospital received 73, District Headquarters Hospital received 24 and three went to private hospitals.

There are 335 dengue patients admitted in govt and privately run hospitals at present.

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2019