PESHAWAR: One person died of dengue fever in Swabi, one of the five high-risk districts of the province, and 139 more patients were recorded on Wednesday raising mortalities due to the vector-borne disease to six and cases to 4,504 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The first case in the province was reported in March. The mortality rate from the mosquito-borne disease is only 0.133 per cent. The authorities attribute the low mortality rate due to dengue to better care at hospitals and awareness on the part of the people regarding its prevention.
“Case management has improved because cases have been reported every year since 2017 when dengue killed 70 people and infected 10,000 others. The disease emerges around first quarter of every year but mortalities have declined,” a physician at one of the medical teaching institutions told Dawn.
According to him, the immunity against dengue virus has been developed because most people in the endemic areas have already been infected.
One dies of vector-borne disease in Swabi, 139 new cases recorded
Also, health workers at the hospitals say that they receive fewer patients than previous years when the wards of the health facilities were overcrowded and it was difficult to accommodate patients.
“Patients prefer to be treated outside the hospitals as local medical practitioners have field days on the outskirts of the infected villages where people are administered liquids in their homes. People also fear to visit the hospitals,” a doctor said.
He said that people had developed misconceptions that they would be mistreated in the hospitals and therefore they were reluctant to be hospitalised.
According to a report prepared by integrated disease surveillance and response system (IDSRS) of the directorate of general health services Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2,896 patients including 124 recorded during the last 24 hours have already recovered from the disease. There were 1,602 active patients in the province currently, it added.
It said that 207 patients were being treated in the hospitals, mostly in Peshawar-based public and private healthcare institutions. The patients have been getting free treatment at designated private hospitals under Sehat Sahulat Programme. Cases continue to fluctuate as on October 14, 267 patients were recorded that was followed by 229 on October 15, 142 on October 16, 107 on October 17, 241 on October 18 and 79 on October 19.
The district administration in collaboration with health and line departments has been carrying out insecticide spray in the endemic areas along with provision of impregnated bed nets to the vulnerable population in Peshawar, the hardest-hit district.
“Today, we checked 92 houses of which dengue larva was found in 11. Similarly, of the 245 water-containers, 47 had larva,” said officials.
They said that such activities were in progress in Nowshera, Dera Ismail Khan, Buner, Shangla, Hangu and other districts to eliminate sources of reproduction of mosquitoes.
The health department has screened 26,295 suspected persons so far. Peshawar has diagnosed 1,643 patients, Nowshera 394, Mardan 314, Haripur 306, Mansehra 304, Buner 262 Swabi 250 and Khyber 220. The disease is widespread as all the districts are reporting cases but the level of mortalities is far less than yesteryears.
Two persons have passed away of dengue in Khyber and one each in Swabi, Nowshera, Mansehra and Haripur. According to the report, the high-risk districts are Peshawar, Nowshera, Buner, Haripur and Mardan.
Health officials said that they had been campaigning to raise public awareness against dengue every year due to which the people were taking more preventive measures that resulted in reduction in the ratio of mortalities.
With the onset of cold season, there would be further slump in cases but the people should adhere to preventive measures, they added.
Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2021