At least seven people, admitted to several hospitals in Karachi, have died in the past 24 hours due to dengue fever – a vector-borne viral disease that can be easily prevented by avoiding mosquito bites – according to Sindh’s health department.
Dengue fever, which doctors say is slowly becoming an epidemic, has gripped several parts of the country.
A report released today by the provincial health department said 113 new cases of dengue have been reported in Sindh in the past 24 hours, 107 of them from Karachi.
In the metropolis, the highest number of cases was recorded in District East, followed by Central, South and Korangi districts.
Earlier, in a tweet, Karachi administrator Murtaza Wahab said disinfectant sprays were being carried out against dengue and malaria in the Eastern District.
Dengue cases in Sindh peaked after monsoon rains. A Dawn report said the increase in fever has filled large public and private hospitals in Karachi.
These hospitals are: Sindh Infectious Disease Hospital (SIDHRC) and Research Centre, Dow University Hospital, Dr. Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), National Institute of Child Health (NICH) and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC).
Dow Hospital’s Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr. Zahid Azam said the hospital received 40 to 50 patients daily for admissions.
“Eight of those are admitted to intensive care” [ICU] while the rest are discharged in a day or two and these cases are followed up in clinics,” he told Dawn.
Dengue Prevention Guidelines
Yesterday, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) called on the government to make ongoing anti-mosquito spray campaigns more effective and to drain standing water/sewers from the flooded areas and Karachi.
The PMA has issued guidelines for the prevention of dengue fever and for the management of the viral disease, which has already gripped the city as hundreds and thousands of patients report daily to state and private hospitals as well as to primary care physicians.
“There is no vaccine or specific treatment available for dengue fever and the only prevention is eliminating mosquitoes. This will also help prevent other mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, which is currently common in the flooded areas, chikungunya infection and Zika fever,” the association said.
According to PMA’s guidelines for treating dengue fever, disease symptoms begin three to four days after infection and can include high fever, headache, vomiting, and pain in the muscles, joints, eyes, and bones.
It may also be associated with skin rashes. In the worst condition, there can be bleeding from gums, nose, mouth, ears and other parts of the body.
“Take all preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites using sprays, nets, mosquito mats, repellents, etc. Cover water tanks and clean standing water found in or around the house. School management should allow students to wear trousers and full shirts and spray their school grounds against mosquitoes,” the PMA said.
It added: “In case of high fever, do not take antibiotics, antimalarial tablets or aspirin. Always seek advice from qualified doctors. Drink plenty of water, eat homemade fresh food, sleep well, which will help improve the body’s immunity.”
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