Govt asks NIH not to compile dengue cases


Instead of taking concrete steps to control dengue virus, the government has asked the National Institute of Health (NIH) to stop compiling dengue-related cases as more and more patients are visiting hospitals in panic, increasing pressure on them manifold.
NIH spokesperson Mazhar Nisar told Pakistan Today that after a policy decision, the NIH had stopped compiling dengue-related figures to avoid a panic-like situation. He said people having normal fever rushed to hospitals, creating pressure on major hospitals.
An NIH official, wising not to be named, said how people would know if they were suffering from dengue fever, malaria or some other type of fever. Instead of creating awareness, the NIH has stopped compiling the figures, which will result in a disaster as sometimes people coming to hospitals with the complaints of normal fever are confirmed dengue-positive cases. However, if they do not rush to hospitals, it can be dangerous and casualties can increase.
Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences’ Critical Area head Dr Iqbal, while talking to Pakistan Today, said that during the last 24 hours, the PIMS had admitted 28 new cases of dengue, raising the number of total admitted patients to 56.
He said dengue fever was a disease caused by a family of viruses that were transmitted by mosquitoes. It was an acute illness that suddenly started with the symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands and rash.
Fever, rash, headache and other pains were characteristics of dengue while bleeding gums and severe pain behind eyes as well as red palms and soles were the signs that appeared at a later stage, he added.
Talking about most vulnerable people he said, “The dengue can affect anyone but tends to be more severe in people with weak immune systems.” He said there was neither vaccine nor drugs were available for preventing infection. The bite of one infected mosquito could cause infection, he added.
He explained that the risk of being bitten is highest during the early morning, several hours after daybreak, and in the late afternoon before sunset. However, mosquitoes may feed at any time during the day.
“Aedes mosquitoes which cause dengue typically live indoors and are often found in dark, cool places such as in closets, under beds, behind curtains, and in bathrooms,” he said.
The transmission of the virus must be prevented, he said. “Patients must be kept in mosquito nets until the second bout of fever is over and it is no longer contagious,” he said.
He advised people to empty stagnant water from old tyres, trash cans and flower pots. He further advised the people to wear long pants, long sleeves, use mosquito-repellant sprays, avoid exposure to mosquitoes and stay indoors two hours after the sunrise and before the sunset.
“Aedes aegypti mosquito is a daytime biter with peak periods of biting around the sunrise and sunset. It may bite at any time of the day and is often hidden inside homes or other dwellings, especially in urban areas,” he revealed.
When contacted, Polyclinic spokesman Dr Sharif Astori said they had total 12 patients admitted to the hospital –four were dengue positive and eight were clinically suspected patients. He added they had discharged 16 dengue patients after their recovery.