The polluted air of Pakistan harbors several viral and bacterial infections. Among these are mosquito borne diseases which occur due to unsanitary water and poor drainage systems. Dengue fever is one of them. It is a severe viral infection that causes migraines, chills and loss of strength and appetite. Furthermore, it may cause hospitalization and become lethal if not treated in time. Dengue cases in Pakistan have been on the rise since a few years. Here is a brief discussion on these cases and what causes them.
According to Jeo News, around 400 dengue cases were registered in hospitals in 2010. The following year saw more than double the number of cases reported. 2012 remained a hopeful year, with very few cases being reported. However, 2013 saw the disease come back in spades, with over 1100 cases in the 3 teaching hospitals, Benazir Bhutto Hospital, District Headquarters Hospital and Holy Family Hospital. The number increased to almost 1400 patients in 2014, ascending further to an astounding approximation of 3900 in 2015. Moreover, 2016 saw a slight decrease, with about 2500 cases from all the districts.
Daily Times reported that in 2010, around 25 lives were lost due to the deadly disease. 18 were lost in 2011, whereas the numbers decreased to 4 in 2012. However, 2013 remains the worst, with 32 lives being taken away. Furthermore, 16 lives were lost in 2014, 11 in 2015 and later, 3 in 2016. Reports say that 99% of these deaths occurred in Karachi. It is astonishing to see how a mere virus can take such a heavy toll on human life.
Over the course of 3 years, dengue has affected people all over the country. According to a Ministry of National Health Services official, 261 cases have been reported in Islamabad. Out of these, there has been 1 death in country’s capital, and 9 in the twin city, Rawalpindi. Furthermore, 6241 cases were reported in Punjab, out of which 26 deaths occurred. 8797 cases were reported in Sindh, with 49 deaths, whereas 14,562 cases were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with 43 deaths.
Reasons for Rising Number of Cases
Several factors account for the rise in the number of dengue cases. Furthermore, each factor is somehow interconnected. Firstly, there is the problem of a poor drainage system. When the monsoon season brings rain showers, there is nowhere for the rain water to go. This causes murky puddles to remain where they are for days, even weeks on end. Puddles are ideal spots for mosquitoes to multiply. With more mosquitoes, the number of victims with mosquito bites continue to grow each year. Secondly, there are very few hospitals that actually have a system of treating this disease. This leads to the big problem of subscribing antibiotics to treat viral infections, cancelling out the effects of the medication altogether.
Moreover, the government is trying to deal with this problem, but more serious attempts need to be made if this epidemic is to be eradicated to a substantial degree.