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Pakistan in grip of dengue fever outbreak

Thousands of infections reported across the country

Pakistan in grip of dengue fever outbreak

Activists and children stage a dengue fever awareness walk in Lahore reporter, Karachi

September 2, 2013

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Pakistan is reeling under an acute outbreak of dengue fever that has left authorities struggling to contain the rampant disease.

Dengue, a tropical disease primarily transmitted by several species of mosquitoes, has already infected thousands across the country.

Unofficial figures put the number of infections at 10,000.

The Sindh Dengue Surveillance Cell estimates nearly 930 people have tested positive for the disease and that the majority of these cases have been reported in Karachi.

“Ten people have succumbed to the deadly fever this year, three of them having died in the past week,” Dr Shakeel Aamir Mallick, a Dengue Surveillance Cell spokesman said on Monday.

“Around 50 dengue patients are still being treated at different hospitals and 27 new cases surfaced on Sunday,” he said.

Officials and health experts fear more fatalities in the absence of an effective dengue eradication program. The surge in dengue cases has also been linked with the recent torrential rains.

The Sindh Health Department has announced that it will launch an SMS campaign to create public awareness about the disease and subsequent prevention measures. It also said that a fumigation drive was already under way in the city.  

Many cases have also been reported in the Swat Valley.

At least 2,000 have bit stricken by dengue in Swat, English-language daily The National reported on Monday.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf , visited Swat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province last week to assess the situation and met patients. 

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has declared an emergency in three main hospitals of Peshawar and asked health workers to remain on alert.

At least 58 dengue cases have surfaced in Punjab, where over 300 people died in the worst recorded dengue outbreak in 2011, according to the provincial health department.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are between 50 million and 100 million infections each year around the world.

In mild cases, dengue fever causes a high fever, rash and joint and muscle pain. In extreme cases, it can cause death.

About 12,000 people die of dengue fever each year, according to the WHO.

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