ICT on toes against dengue fever outbreak


Health Department of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) is continuing with its surveillance campaign to prevent outbreak of dengue fever this summer season.

Additional District Health Officer Dr Najeeb Durrani said trained health workers were visiting different areas of the capital for identification and elimination of larvae of mosquito.

He said dengue fever, caused by any of the four distinct but closely related dengue virus serotypes, was a mosquito borne viral disease. The virus had rapidly spread in various regions of the world during recent years.

Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti. Symptoms of the disease appear three to 14 days after the infective bite. The fever cannot be spread directly from one person to another person.

Dr Najeeb said under supervision of an epidemiologist, the health staff, including sanitary patrols and sanitary workers, had been eradicating the breeding sites of mosquitoes with spray of chemicals and insecticides.

The staff, which got training for the campaign, had been visiting neighbourhoods in urban and rural areas, schools, parks, graveyards of Islamabad and other public places to eliminate larvae and create awareness among public by distributing information material.

According to National Institute of Health in Islamabad, the mosquito vector mainly breeds on the surface of clean stagnant water, generally kept open in the buckets, water tanks or leftover in the plant saucers. It stays mainly indoor, in cooler and darker places; under the bed, behind curtains and bites around dusk and dawn.

Higher temperatures reduce the time required for the virus to replicate and disseminate in the mosquito.

According to Dr Najeeb, population in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi faced the most severe outbreak of dengue fever last year.

The temperature in this region of the country had started to go up and the climate would become highly suitable for breeding of mosquitoes, he added.

The ICT health department has listed as many as eight union councils as high-risk areas, particularly those adjoining Rawalpindi district. The high-risk UCs include Rawat, Sihala, Sohan, Tumair, Barakahu, Phulgran, Tarnol and Shah Allah Ditta.

Dengue has emerged as a worldwide problem since 1950 and approximately 400 million people are infected yearly. Globally the reported incidence of dengue has been increasing.

More than one third of the world’s population is living in dengue endemic areas and the virus is the leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropic.