2011 dengue outbreak in Pakistan
Dengue fever has become an important disease is Pakistan with increasing epidemics. Despite the efforts of the Government of Pakistan, especially in Punjab, the high cost of treatment has limited the ability of Pakistan to control the epidemics. In the summer of 2011, mortality from Dengue fever in Pakistan was over 300 people and the prevalence of the disease was over 14,000 infections. The outbreaks occurred mostly in the Lahore area, Punjab, Pakistan.
Death and casualties
In November 2010, more than 21,204 people were reportedly infected. Those infected are mainly from Punjab, Pakistan. Patients are primarily admitted to government hospitals. For dengue patients, special wards have been arranged. The severity of the disease is felt in Lahore, the provincial metropolis of Punjab. Early reports showed that more than 170 people have died and several hundreds are admitted as new cases are confirmed.
- Secretary Punjab Mineral Development Corporation, Ataullah Siddiqui and Ghiasuddin, a Member of the Punjab Public Service Commission died as a result of the Dengue fever.
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Government of Pakistan and provincial Government of Punjab (Pakistan) are working on the preventive measures to reduce the spread of the epidemic. The Government of Punjab has opened a hotline called Punjab Health Line Project For Dengue which can be reached at 0800-99000. This is to facilitate the circulation on the signs and symptoms of dengue fever, reach for help for suspected cases and ultimately help identifying areas where the epidemic may have spread. Teams have been organized for the purpose of fumigating, spraying and fogging those areas where the Aedes mosquitoes have known to infect people with the virus. Directions are in place for spraying especially in educational institutes. The government has issued orders to take strict action against any private school that do not observe to take the preventive measures. Mobile teams operate around the clock to treat affected on the spot in rural areas. A Special Tribunal for dengue directly reports to the provincial government. Chairman Dengue Emergency Response Committee Khawaja Saad Rafique has also advised private schools to spray twice a week. In early September 2011, the Government of Punjab (Pakistan) ordered the schools, colleges and universities in Punjab, Pakistan to close down for at least 10 days for intensive fogging to eliminate the vector mosquitoes. Article 144 has been implemented in Lahore city for the prevention of dengue fever. After an appeal by the Government of Punjab (Pakistan), private hospitals have also agreed to provide free treatment to dengue patients.
Reaction by Pakistan Armed Forces
In the current situation, the Pakistan Armed Forces are also actively involved in the fight against dengue fever epidemic. They are actively engaged in increasing public awareness and bringing relief to the victims by setting up 300 camps in Lahore city. The Pakistan Air Force is also prominently participating in the efforts.
Punjab government stated that it is working to increase public awareness on the dengue outbreak. In an awareness drive, Shahbaz Sharif himself arrived at local universities to hand out pamphlets on dengue fever and prevention. He held a telephonic seminar in Alhmara Hall in Lahore regarding the outbreak. A seminar was also held in Hyderabad by the local authorities. Various other awareness programs are held in colleges and schools and teachers are urged to educate students regarding this matter. The 24 hour government sponsored online service of the Punjab Health Line Project For Dengue provides information on the recent dengue outbreak and how to remove the threat using prevention methods.
- Sri Lanka- Government of Sri Lanka promised assistance in the form of medicines and staff to Punjab.The team has departed back to Sri Lanka A group of 12 doctors from Sri Lanka came to Lahore for assisting in the fight against dengue fever.
- Indonesia- The Indonesian government dispatched a medical team comprising 20 dengue virus of dengue experts to assist Pakistani authorities in their fight against the outbreak.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) is providing technical guidance along with support for provincial and territorial dengue monitoring and coordination committees.
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