ISLAMABAD: While dengue season has started in the federal capital, District Health Officer Dr Zaeem Zia said that fumigation at the start of the season would be hazardous, as it adversely affected the environment.
However, the health authorities issued an advisory to prevent dengue fever to avoid the rapid rise in cases likely in light of the rainy season in the city.
Dr Zia said that although people assume that dengue can only be controlled by fumigation, it was not correct. “June, July, and August are considered the peak months for the dengue and we have been expecting that the cases will increase with another spell of rain in the city. We use fumigation as a last resort as it severely impacts the environment, birds, and human beings,” he said.
“Fumigation kills butterflies, lizards, insects, including honey bees; it also affects birds and their eggs,” he said, adding that this practice is used as a last resort to eradicate mosquitoes.
Meanwhile, the advisory released by the district administration urged the public to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of dengue fever.
“Dengue fever poses a significant public health concern in Islamabad District, with cases reported throughout the year, especially during the monsoon season. The incidence of dengue fever is typically higher in densely populated areas with inadequate sanitation and limited access to healthcare. Early prevention and prompt treatment are crucial to prevent severe outcomes,” it stated.
“Dengue fever is primarily transmitted through the bites of infected Aedes mosquitoes, which thrive in warm, humid environments and breed in stagnant water. To effectively prevent the spread of dengue, it is important to adopt a proactive approach and incorporate daily surveillance routines around houses,” it stated.
The Islamabad District Health Office also urged relevant departments and masses to regularly inspect surroundings to eliminate any potential mosquito breeding sites.
“Remove or empty out stagnant water sources such as discarded containers, tires, flower pots, and other receptacles that can collect rainwater. Pay special attention to areas where water tends to accumulate, such as roof gutters, drains, and outdoor containers. Dispose of solid waste promptly and in designated waste disposal areas. Avoid leaving trash or garbage exposed as they can accumulate water and serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Regularly clean and clear drainages and water channels to ensure they are free from blockages or stagnant water. This will help minimise mosquito breeding and reduce the risk of dengue transmission,” it stated.
“Apply mosquito repellents on exposed skin surfaces, especially during outdoor activities. Choose repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus for effective protection against mosquito bites… Use bed nets while sleeping… When spending time outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to minimise skin exposure to mosquito bites,” it said, urging daily surveillance to detect and address potential mosquito breeding sites promptly.
Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2023