A senior health official said on November 6, that about 44,000 people have been infected with dengue in Pakistan in 2019. He added that the increased outbreaks as a result of rising temperatures and erratic rainfall in the region. The number of infected patients in 2019 has increased drastically from 27,000 infections in 2011, said Dr Rana Safdar, a senior official at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Yet the number of deaths due to dengue has decreased from 370 in 2011 to 66 in 2019, he noted.
"Pakistan government is employing all available resources at its disposal to contain the problem", Rana said.
While Rana without elaborating blamed the climate change behind the rise in dengue, Physician Dr. Mahseema Siddique, who treats dengue patients, blamed the government for the rise in cases. He blamed that the Government has not taken enough precautions like covering up reservoirs or spraying anti-dengue chemicals to contain the disease in Islamabad and Punjab. He criticized the local authorities saying that they only woke up after so many got infected. The highest number of patients was recorded in Islamabad and Rawalpindi with 12,433 patients.
"There are a large number of areas where spray teams could not make it," he added.
Aedes Aegypti mosquito which carries dengue thrives in densely-populated tropical climates and breeds in stagnant pools of water. As the insects suck blood from humans they transmit the disease to the person whom they bite after biting an infected person. The changing climate and warmer conditions lead to rainfall and humidity which is favourable for these mosquitoes breeding and so the cases have been surging since the 1970s. The virus has been deemed untreatable in aggravated patients and has spread in Southeast Asia this year. Crowded areas too are favourable for the mosquitoes as they thrive on blood. s Pakistan's population density is quite high it becomes a favourable habitat for the insect.
Also called "breakbone fever" dengue leads to intense flu-like symptoms: severe headache, pain behind the eyes, full-body aches, high fever, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rash. Consult a doctor on noting the above symptoms.