Health Ministry to tackle dengue outbreak through effective plan

Health Ministry to tackle dengue outbreak through effective plan
A worker fumigates to kill mosquito larvaes to fight against the spread of dengue fever at a residential area of Karachi on Sept. 20, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2019

Health Ministry to tackle dengue outbreak through effective plan

Health Ministry to tackle dengue outbreak through effective plan
  • Around 11,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease across the country since July
  • No reliable vaccine available to date to treat the disease, doctors say

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Health said on Monday that it has devised an effective action plan to tackle the outbreak of dengue fever as around 11,000 people, including children and women, have been diagnosed with the disease across the country since July this year.
“We are sure to deal with this [dengue] outbreak in a week or so,” Sajid Hussain Shah, a ministry spokesperson, told Arab News. “All required facilities and medicines are available in hospitals and there is no need to panic.”
The dengue is a painful mosquito-borne disease commonly found in hot, wet regions of the tropics and subtropics during the rainy months. A record number of patients is reported this year across Pakistan after 2011 when more than 27,000 people were diagnosed with the disease and over 300 of them died.
Common symptoms of the disease include high fever, runny nose, muscle and joint pains, and mild skin rashes. In serious cases, it can cause internal bleeding and death.
“A scientific research will be carried out in the dengue-hit areas in the coming days to ascertain its possible causes and prevention,” Shah said, adding that an “effective action plan” was devised to control the epidemic, though he did not give further details.
He also informed that a ‘Dengue Control and Operations Center’ had been set up in the Ministry of Health, Islamabad, which would review countrywide dengue-related situation on a daily basis and take steps to control it.
“The areas where dengue larvae are found are being sprayed along with the awareness campaign among people about preventive measures,” Shah said.
Dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world, increasing 30-fold in the past 50 years, and putting more than half the world’s population at risk, according to the World Health Organization.
Another study suggests that nearly a billion people are threatened to be exposed to the mosquito-borne disease by 2080 as temperatures continue to rise with the climate crisis.
Dr. Isaac Asher at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences said that no reliable vaccine was available to date to treat the disease and mosquito control had been the only option so far to deal with it.
“The risk of complications is in less than one percent of dengue patients, and if warning signals are known to the public, all deaths from the diseases can easily be avoided,” he told Arab News.
Asher said that hot and humid weather induced by climate change had created “ideal conditions” for female mosquitoes to lay their eggs and spread across a territory rapidly. “It is now known to everybody that global warming is playing a major role in the spread of the disease,” he said. “The vector-borne diseases could pose a major challenge in coming days.”