PESHAWAR: New cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever continue to emerge from the hotspot union councils in high-risk districts as the province recorded 476 new infections, the highest in a single day this year so far.

Public health specialists say that causes of spike in the infections have already been known and they include the lack of awareness at the community level and coordination among line departments to eradicate the larva, which is resulting in breeding of mosquitoes in 18 high-risk, 25 medium-risk and 175 low-risk union councils.

On Saturday, the province-wide dengue infections totalled 8,961, up from 1,532 and 103 recorded in August and July, respectively. Of these 6,921 patients have recovered and current infections were 2,031, according to a report prepared by the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System (IDSRS) at the Directorate General Health Services, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It said that 44 more people were admitted, taking the total number of hospitalisations to 1,080 so far. Currently, 104 patients are under treatment in various hospitals, the report said.

476 new patients reported

The health department is facing a daunting task to eradicate the larva in hotspots due to lack of coordination among 19 line departments, which are required under the Dengue Action Plan (DAP), 2022, to join hands and do away with the causative agents of the vector-borne ailment, according to sources. The department had detected 24,938 cases and 70 deaths in 2017 with 0.28pc case fatality rate and Peshawar was the hardest hit with 94.3pc of the total patients, and two years later, of the 7,083 cases there was no morality.

As many as 10 of the overall 10,617 virus-hit people passed away in 2020.

Public health experts say the situation might go the 2017’s way where patients didn’t find space in hospitals.

Peshawar has so far reported 3,003 cases (33.51pc of the total patients) with 219 infections in the last 24 hours, they said. Mardan has reported 2,337 patients, Khyber 839, Nowshera 603, Haripur 507, Lower Dir 327, Kohat 245, Charsadda 237, Swabi 170, Malakand 146 and Dera Ismail Khan 112. Eight patients, including four in Khyber, two in Nowshera and one each in Mansehra and Mardan, have died of dengue this year.

The virus transmits after bite of mosquito as people stay vulnerable in the face of interrupted supply of electricity and water.

The District Dengue Response Units (DDRU) established at the district level under deputy commissioners to implement DAP were required to hold daily meetings and discuss anti-dengue steps through deployment of trained human resources and equipment for vector detection, fogging and patients’ management under prevention and control guidelines, they said.

The sources said that in this regard chief secretary Shahzad Bangash had been issuing orders to the district administrations, especially in the hotspots where the virus stayed for a month. They said that the CS had assigned responsibilities to various departments, but the coordination in high-risk districts wasn’t up to a desired level.

The department has deployed 36 medical entomologists for vector surveillance and they have identified 18 high-risk, 25 medium-risk and 175 low-risk UCs where multi-sectoral intervention was required.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022

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