‘Worst yet to come’ as four more dengue patients die


Four more people died of the dengue virus in Lahore on Monday raising the death toll from the deadly epidemic to 44, as Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif asked the media to avoid creating panic among the public even though a Sri Lankan expert told a meeting chaired by the CM that “dengue’s worst is yet to come”. The chief minister launched the appeal during a briefing session for editors, columnists and senior journalists at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat where the Sri Lankan experts and senior officials informed the participants of the measures the government had taken so far to handle the dengue epidemic in Lahore and the rest of the province.
The pick of the briefing was the observations and conclusion made by the Sri Lankan guests whom most participants wanted to listen. A Sri Lankan expert who collected samples of larva from various localities of Lahore and studied it in detail said it “seems that the worse is yet to come as far as dengue fever is concerned”. However, he observed that Pakistan was lucky in the respect that 95 percent cases reported so far were related to dengue fever, while only five percent of them fell in the lethal category of hemorrhagic fever. He said the ratio was better than in Sri Lanka, where 35 percent cases were related to hemorrhagic fever. The Punjab chief minister said all stakeholders needed to come forward to combat the dengue virus on war footing and all sections of society would have to contribute to make a difference. He said that preventives measures to control the spread of dengue would be the key in the government’s fight against the epidemic.
Shahbaz asked intellectuals, columnists, editors and anchorpersons to play their role in spreading the message of public participation in the drive against dengue and provide guidance to him through their programmes, news, articles and editorials in this difficult time. He said the Punjab government was striving beyond its capacity to eliminate the dengue virus and the best treatment facilities were being provided to patients at hospitals, while additional staff and machinery had also been made available. He said the media should not only point out the shortcomings of the government, but also inform the people of the facts to dispel their fears.
Earlier, Shahbaz gave a detailed briefing to his party chief, Nawaz Sharif at a high-level meeting regarding the measures taken against dengue virus. Meanwhile, the official number of dengue patients in Lahore has exceeded 10,000 and around 5,953 patients of dengue fever are under treatment. The Sri Lankan experts have, however, said that newborns are less prone to dengue. Separately, the district administration continued operation against private hospitals and laboratories overcharging patients and about 24 laboratories have been sealed so far. Lab owners have threatened closure of operations against the “illegal crackdown” by the district administration.


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