• Gradual decrease after October sees highest cases since May
• Death toll rises to 56 as woman dies in Hyderabad

KARACHI: Although the number of dengue cases reported in Karachi in the month of October is slightly higher compared to September’s, health experts see a declining trend over the past 10-15 days but warn that the burden of mosquito-borne viral infection is still high, it emerged on Wednesday.

According to official data, the total number of dengue fever cases reported from Karachi division in October stands at 6,150. In September, total 6,053 cases were reported in the city. However, the situation was uncertain during the first 15 days of October when Karachi reported 3,686 cases compared to 1,742 cases reported during the same period in September.

“The findings of our central laboratory suggest that there has been a 30 per cent drop in cases over the past 15 to 20 days. But, the numbers are still worrisome,” said Prof Dr Saeed Khan, who heads the Sindh Public Health Lab at the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS). “For instance, we found 1,007 samples positive out of the 3,550 total samples tested from Oct 18 to Oct 25.”

Dr Abdul Wahid Rajput, Medical Superintendent of the Sindh Infectious Disease Hospital and Research Centre, was also of the opinion that there had been a significant reduction in cases.

“Our admission of dengue patients has reduced from 70 to 80 over two weeks ago to 30 now. Hopefully, this downward trend will continue as the weather is turning cold,” he said.

Karachi reports 48 deaths this year

The reduction in new cases can be checked from data released by the health department that said on Nov 1 a total of 85 cases were reported in Karachi, which is the lowest daily count in months.

However, total mortalities from dengue fever rose to 56 in the province on Wednesday when the health department reported another death from the mosquito-borne viral infection.

Sources said the latest victim was a 30-year-old woman, a resident of Hyderabad, which has seen the highest number of dengue fever cases last month (1,951) with four deaths after Karachi where 48 deaths have been recorded since May.

The month of October saw the highest number of cases (8,915) this year in the province. Seventy per cent (6,150) of these cases were reported in Karachi. In September, 6,053 cases were recorded in the city.

14,630 cases in Karachi since May

A total of 14,630 dengue fever cases — 77pc of the total number of cases recorded in the province — have been reported in Karachi since May.

The majority of cases this year were reported in districts East (4,538) followed by Central (3,375), Korangi (2,647), South (1,982), Malir (1,079), Keamari (552) and West (542).

Experts said that this year dengue’s outbreak affected all areas and segments of society in Karachi and hospitals had run out of beds. The wide impact of the outbreak had so much to do with the unprecedented monsoon and city’s poor sanitary conditions, they said.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment available for dengue fever and the only prevention is to eliminate mosquitoes.

The disease symptoms begin three to four days after infection and may include high fever, headache, vomiting and pain in muscles, joints, eyes and bones. It can also be associated with skin rashes. In the worst condition, there could be bleeding from gums, nose, mouth, ears and other parts of the body.

The experts advised patients to have an examination from qualified doctors as soon as they notice signs and symptoms and follow the guidelines. Most dengue fever patients recover without any complications, they added.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2022

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