Beds run short as dengue cases spike

News Report
Sunday, Oct 10, 2021

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Dengue cases continue to increase countrywide with hospitals in the Punjab, especially its capital Lahore, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh snowed under with patients and the hospital administrations refusing to take in more patients.

In the Punjab hospitals, beds meant for the corona patients have been allocated to the dengue victims.

In Islamabad a massive anti-dengue campaign has been launched in response to the alarmingly high levels of dengue cases.

To prevent a full-blown outbreak in the metropolis, the chief commissioner called upon all stakeholders to launch an anti-dengue drive in the city. Saturday marked the second day of the operation, say media reports.

According to a statement by Additional Deputy Commissioner (East) Babar Sahib Din, in the next 4 to 5 days, every street, in both rural and urban areas, will be fumigated.

“Today, major market areas in F-6, F-7, F-8, G-6, G-7, G-8, as well as residential areas in G-10, G-14, I-8, I-10, Rawal Town and F-11, F-8, F-5 have been fumigated,” he said. In rural areas, Shah Allah Ditta, Turnol, Jhangi Sayedan Saidpur, Mehrabadi were among the targeted localities.

Sahib Din said 20 teams had been constituted to lead the activity, which included staff from the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and other departments.

Of these, one special team is focusing on bus depots and another on mosques, where daily fumigation is ensured.

“All housing societies have also been told to increase their fumigation activities,” said the ADC.

“A team is also tasked with rapid response for areas where dengue cases surface,” he added.

According to the ADC, the ICTA administration had also imposed Section 144 and legal action will be taken against anyone found letting water accumulate outside their residences.

He said assistant commissioners had imposed 30,000 fines, while seven people were arrested, 2 FIRs registered, and seven premises sealed.

A large number of junkyards, under construction sites, service stations, tyre shops were also inspected, Din said.

In the last 24 hours, 98 new cases of dengue were reported in Islamabad, according to the district health officer, of which 73 were found in rural areas and 25 in urban areas.

The new cases brought the total number of patients to 1,030.

The DHO said Islamabad’s suburbs had begun to report a rising number of cases.

In rural areas, 698 people have been infected with the dengue virus, whereas in urban areas, 332 cases have been recorded.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government Saturday declared medical emergency at the public health facilities in Lahore due to the rising number of dengue cases.

The decision was made in a meeting chaired by the Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid which looked into the challenge of preventing the rapid breeding of mosquitoes in the province and expressed concern over possible deterioration of the dengue situation in the coming weeks.

The provincial health department also instructed all doctors on leave to return to their respective medical facilities to deal with the growing number of dengue cases.

“Recent rain spells coupled with humidity and a lot of construction work in some of the top neighbourhoods of Lahore have provided a breeding ground for dengue that has engulfed much of the city and its adjoining areas,” Punjab Health Secretary Imran Sikandar Baloch said.

He maintained that the climatic conditions conducive for the spread of the disease were likely to continue until the end of the year.

Rejecting the claim that official surveillance teams were not doing their job, Baloch said the COVID-19 pandemic had already placed immense pressure on the province’s health system. The same medical staff is also dealing with the dengue situation, he added.

According to the latest figures, 299 dengue cases have been reported in the province in the last 24 hours.

About 220 of these cases were only recorded in Lahore while the remaining ones were diagnosed in other parts of the province.

Statistics reveal that dengue cases in Punjab have reached 3,475 since January 2021, with Lahore accounting for 2,708 of them.

Officials say field surveillance had revealed the breeding of larvae at 2,580 places across the province, adding that 1,530 of them were spotted in Lahore.

Malaria Control Program Coordinator Dr Khalid Qambrani Saturday said over 1,700 cases of dengue had been reported in three districts of Balochistan.

He said deputy commissioners and DHOs of the districts concerned were working together for eradication of dengue.

He expressed these views while talking to the media personnel in Quetta.

Qambrani said so far this year 1,750 dengue cases had been reported in three districts of Balochistan namely Lasbela, Gwadar and Ketch districts.

He said the situation in these three districts was under the complete control.

The Malaria Control Program is working closely with the deputy commissioners and DHOs, he added.

Replying to a question, Dr. Khalid Qambrani said no death had been reported and the situation was completely under control in areas where dengue was present and the health department had taken all possible steps to deal with any emergency situation.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has reported 304 new cases in the last 24 hours taking the number of patients to 2,456 out of which 247 are being treated in hospitals.

During the last 24 hours, 93 people were diagnosed with dengue in Peshawar taking the total tally in the provincial capital to 666. Meanwhile, 27 new cases were reported in Mardan, eight in Swabi, 134 in Haripur.

Dengue is a threat to nearly half of the world’s population. Of the estimated 220 million people infected each year, two million, mostly children in Latin America and Asia, develop its severe form called dengue hemorrhagic fever. There is no specific treatment for the disease, though its early detection can help its treatment.