NIH warns against dengue outbreak in twin cities


The National Institute of Health (NIH) has rung alarm bells in all health departments of the capital regarding the outbreak of dengue after the monsoon season and issued guidelines for its prevention and control as the first dengue patient of the season passed away two days back at Holy Family Hospital, Rawalpindi.
As the monsoon season is coming to an end, the dengue virus outbreak is expected in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The first dengue fever case, a resident of Nowshehra, was reported at Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH). Some three weeks ago, Amir Hassan had complaints of fever and headache along with extreme joint and muscle pain.
Later, he was taken to the Shifa International Hospital where he was confirmed by the National Institute of Health, Islamabad, as a dengue patient. As the patient belonged to a poor family and could not afford an expensive treatment at a private hospital, he was shifted to Holy Family Hospital where he died two days ago.
A health official in NIH, who wished not to be named, told Pakistan Today that as the monsoon season was about to end in a few days and there were chances of dengue virus outbreak, they had issued guidelines and warnings to all the health departments of the city.
He said dengue fever was a severe flu-like illness that affected infants, young children and adults, but seldom caused death.
“Dengue Hemorrhagic fever is a potentially deadly complication that is characterised by high fever, hemorrhagic phenomena, often with enlargement of liver, and in severe cases, circulatory failure,” he said.
“The illness commonly begins with a sudden rise in temperature accompanied by facial flush and other non-specific constitutional symptoms of dengue fever. The fever usually continues for two to seven days, possibly with febrile convulsions and hemorrhagic phenomena,” he said.
He further said, “There is no specific treatment for dengue fever at present and the only method of controlling or preventing dengue and DHF is to combat vector mosquitoes. Dengue viruses are transmitted to humans through the bites of infective female aedes mosquitoes.”
When contacted, Medical Specialist Dr Muhammad Haroon at the Shifa International Hospital told Pakistan Today that Amir Hassan was suffering from dengue fever besides having heart and kidney diseases, so the causes of his death were multiple.
“In Pakistan, mostly dengue patients survive, but Amir was suffering from heart disease, kidney infection and bacterial infection along with dengue fever, so he could not survive,” he explained. When contacted, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) spokesperson Dr Waseem Khawaja said that due to the ongoing strike of Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) in the hospital, no special steps had been taken so far to tackle the potential dengue outbreak.