Lahore sees ‘sharp’ surge in dengue cases

Published November 24, 2021
Patients suffering from dengue fever are treated as they rest on beds under nettings at a hospital in Lahore. — AFP/File
Patients suffering from dengue fever are treated as they rest on beds under nettings at a hospital in Lahore. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The health authorities seem helpless to contain dengue fever as the city witnesses a three-fold increase in the number of confirmed cases during the last two weeks or so.

The increase is believed to be due to rapid growth of the dengue mosquitoes in several localities of the provincial capital where complaints against health authorities increased for not carrying out anti-vector activities.

Some public health experts have attributed the recent surge to ‘inadequate’ remedial strategies.

They are of the view that the dengue fever spreads by several species of female mosquito - Aedes aegypti - and the epidemic can only be contained by taking preventive measures and creating awareness.

They says the health authorities are focusing more on the curative side instead of taking steps to control growth of the dengue mosquito.

Many family physicians practicing in streets and towns claim that the dengue epidemic has worsened during the last two weeks or so and most of the confirmed cases (around 60 per cent) are going unreported officially.

“In the past two weeks the number of patients with complaints of dengue fever has increased three times than reported a month back”, family physician Dr Arif from Samanabad told this reporter.

Also read: 19,595 dengue patients in Punjab so far, court told

“I was attending seven to nine patients with history of dengue symptoms since the disease hit Punjab. This number has increased to around 20 during the last two weeks,” he said.

University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Javed Akram says simple dengue fever cases are on the decline but the patients with complications of second and third form of the virus are increasing.

“We are dealing [these days] most of the patients suffering from type 2 of the dengue fever,” he says adding that other cases are also being reported but in less number.

“Lahore is at a high risk because of many overcrowded localities, unsafe drinking water and inadequate sanitation,” Prof Akram says.A senior public health official says the Institute of Public Health, the directorate of health services Punjab and other institutions were set up for research on preventive health.

He says these institutes are not being utilised properly for checking epidemics of infections like dengue.

He says the public sector teaching hospitals of Lahore are facing a tremendous pressure of dengue patients. The hospitals have no space to accommodate a large number of patients, forcing the health facilities to convert other wards into ‘dengue wards’ in order to adjust most of them.

The Lahore General Hospital has stopped admission of patients for eyes treatment for a brief period and shifted the dengue fever patients there.

Contrary to the above-mentioned reports, the Punjab health department has claimed a decline in the number of dengue cases across the province, including Lahore.

According to the official data released by health department on Tuesday, four patients died of the virus in Punjab during the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 126 since January so far.

Similarly, the number of infections in Punjab reached 23,866 after 139 more people tested positive for dengue. Of them, 106 were reported from Lahore.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2021

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