KARACHI: While the spike in dengue and malaria cases in the city showed no sign of decline despite tall claims of municipal bodies to have ‘covered 60 to 70 per cent areas’ in the ongoing fumigation drive in the metropolis, the Met office warned on Friday that ‘atmospheric variables’ were providing an ideal environment for the disease to spread and 10 major cities, including Karachi, were at risk of witnessing outbreak next month.
An ‘alert’ issue by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) called for pre-emptive measures for the dengue outbreak in the cities and districts.
It also referred to data analysis, current and future climate outlook that helped it reach the frightening conclusion.
The department warned that dengue could break out next month in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Larkana and Multan.
“Keeping in view the past data analysis, current and future climate outlook, the atmospheric variables are providing an ideal environment for a dengue outbreak,” said the met office.
Met office warns Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad on hit list
“Based on the analysis, the environment has become conducive from mid of September 2022 for dengue onset and it is predicted that it may break out in October, 2022, particularly in 10 major cities of Pakistan ie, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Larkana and Multan as well as in flood affected areas of the country.”
It said that dengue had deepened its roots and the disease had severely affected the health of public over the past 10 years in the country and every year the phenomenon surfaced during the post-monsoon season — September 20 till December 5 — when the conditions become favourable for the virus.
“The dengue triggers when the temperature and humidity thresholds remain 26-29°C (3-5 weeks) and 60 per cent, respectively. Moreover, the rainfall remains 27mm with a maximum time lag period of three weeks.”
The active period for dengue attacks is two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset. The breeding stops once the temperature falls below 16°C, said the PMD alert.
Sardar Sarfaraz of the PMD, when contacted, said that the fresh alert issued by the Met office was not a new as the department kept conveying the authorities about the changing climate and environmental conditions that could affect different segments of life.
“We often issue advisories for our agriculture sector considering the changing environment and climate outlook. Similarly the Met office keeps updating people about the pollen count when it’s needed and situation turns challenging for the people. In winter, the people are advised about the visibility amid fog conditions and this also helps our Motorway authorities,” he added.
218 tested dengue positive in city
Meanwhile, the health officials said that as many as 218 more people had tested positive for the dengue fever in Karachi over the past 24 hours while a total of 309 people tested positive for the mosquito-borne disease in the province in the last 24 hours.
MQM sees govt failure in fumigation
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on the other hand strongly criticised the Sindh government and Karachi administration for their ‘failure’ to devise and execute a comprehensive fumigation campaign.
In a statement, the party’s legislators questioned the strategy of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party government and criticised the lack of coordination in its health department and the city administration that had put Karachi at risk of the dengue outbreak.
“The data being shared by the Sindh government is not authentic,” said the statement.
“Many people have died of dengue in Karachi alone. The effective fumigation is the need of the hour. Karachi and its people are suffering due to incompetence of the Sindh government and the city administration. The east district of the city is badly hit where the official data says that more than 2,500 people are tested positive for dengue virus only in few days.”
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2022