Medical experts on Monday advised residents of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to take special preventive measures to protect themselves against malaria.
According to them, citizens should properly dispose of solid waste and stop storing water at their residences to prevent access to egg-laying female mosquitoes during the start of the high-risk season.
They said mosquitoes breed primarily in containers like earthenware jars, metal drums and concrete cisterns used for domestic water storage, as well as discarded plastic food containers, used automobile tyres and other items that collect rainwater.
Dr Wasim Khawaja from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), while talking to the media, said that malaria and dengue are mosquito-borne infection, which in recent years had become a major public health concern.
He said malaria and dengue fever are a severe flu-like illnesses that affect infants, young children and adults. He added that the spread of dengue was attributed to expanding geographic distribution of the four-dengue viruses and of their mosquito vectors, the most important of which was the predominantly urban species aedes aegypti.
He said the rapid growth of urban population was bringing ever-greater numbers of people into contact with this vector, especially in areas that were favourable for mosquito breeding like where household water storage was common and where solid waste disposal services were inadequate.
He said dengue viruses were transmitted to humans through the bites of infective female aedes mosquitoes. He added that mosquitoes generally acquire the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person.
He said after virus incubation for eight to ten days, an infected mosquito was capable, during probing and blood feeding, of transmitting the virus to susceptible individuals for the rest of its life.
Dr Sharif Astori from Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC) said infants and young children might have a non-specific febrile illness with rash as older children and adults might have either a mild febrile syndrome or the classical incapacitating disease with abrupt onset and high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains and rash.
He said dengue haemorrhagic fever was a potentially deadly complication that was characterized by high fever, haemorrhagic phenomena.