The Grapevine

Dengue Epidemic In Pakistan Update: Government Criticized Over Inadequate Measures

Pakistan is experiencing a dengue outbreak and about 10,013 cases has already been confirmed, according to Dr. Zafar Mirza, director of Health System Development at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. There are also 20 fatalities recorded in the recent months from the said epidemic.

Dr. Mirza said that the number of patients diagnosed with dengue is still low compared to what the country reported in the previous years. He added that free medical treatment will be made available to people suffering from the disease.

There is an increasing number of people coming to hospitals presenting symptoms of dengue in all major cities of the country including its capital Islamabad. The incident thus further damages Pakistan’s already poor health system.

“The cases of dengue fever are increasing because of the government's incompetence,” Maryam Aurangzeb, spokeswoman for the opposition Pakistan Muslim League party, said.

The Pakistan government is receiving heavy criticisms from the opposing party for not carrying out necessary actions to counter the perturbing outbreak of the disease. Nevertheless, health experts remain optimistic that by spraying anti-mosquito agents in the urban areas, especially targeting stagnant waters, will help contain the disease.

According to Rafique Ahmed, a medical doctor at a government hospital in the city of Rawalpindi, more than 150 patients having the illness were being treated in their hospital. “Hopefully, we will overcome this epidemic,” Ahmed continued.

Ahmed also said that people manifesting a simple fever rush to hospitals in the fear that they have contracted the mosquito-borne disease that is causing several deaths in the country each year.

Dengue is a viral infection spread by infected mosquitoes, primarily the Aedes aegypti genus. The mosquito-borne disease presents severe flu-like symptoms and can sometimes be fatal when the condition develops a complication known as severe dengue.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dengue is rampant throughout the tropics. The areas’ climate and level of urbanization as well as the quality of vector control services greatly influence the risk of the disease’s widespread.

Dengue is endemic in more than 100 countries, with Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions being the most seriously affected, per WHO.

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