WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Pakistan reports dengue fever outbreak

The World Health Organization reported on Sunday that there has been an outbreak of dengue fever in Pakistan.

The reported cases of dengue fever come from the Swat district of the Khyber Pakthunkhwa province in Pakistan. There have been a total of 6376 suspected cases, including 23 deaths. Laboratory tests have confirmed three serotypes of dengue fever as the causative strains of the current outbreak.

Dengue fever cases usually rise during various seasons, with some seeing more cases than others. This recent outbreak of dengue fever, however, has intensified in the country with increased occurrences and geographic expansion. This has been shown in some cases seen in the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

Swat, with help from the WHO, has scaled up response activities to the increase in dengue fever. These activities include public awareness-raising campaigns for risk mitigation, strengthening surveillance and general preventive measures, and improving clinical management of patients and implementing targeted vector control activities. A dengue task force was also set up by the district to help with these response activities.

Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is spread by mosquitoes. It is usually found in tropical regions. Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache, muscle and join pains and a signature skin rash, which closely resembles measles. Some cases of dengue fever can escalate to become a potentially life threatening illness called dengue hemorrhagic fever.