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ISLAMABAD: Dengue fever is spreading at an alarming rate in Islamabad especially in rural areas, and so far five people have died of the fever and a total 1,350 people have been infected.

Dengue testing facility is only available at the National Institute of Health (NIH) situated in Chak Shahzad area of Islamabad or private hospitals.

Poor people are unable to visit the NIH as it is far from the city and cannot afford private laboratory dengue test charges.

The residents of the capital city have urged the authorities concern to establish testing laboratories at public hospitals such as the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Capital Development Authority (CDA) hospitals and the Federal Government Employees Polyclinic hospitals.

Private hospitals are charging Rs 3,600 for dengue test, while the NIH is not performing test for free until recommended by a health physician otherwise the NIH is charging Rs 1,660.

People told this correspondent that dengue fever has spread in every locality of the capital city, while the district authorities so far have failed to complete anti-dengue spray drive in most parts of the city.

The health authorities have urged the citizens to take preventive measures against dengue virus, which is rapidly spreading across the country.

According to District Health Officer (DHO) Islamabad Dr Zaeem Zia, the fever is spreading in various parts of Islamabad, wherein, so far, a total 1,350 cases have been reported of which five people have died.

The DHO Islamabad has issued dengue alert urging the people to take the following preventive measures to protect themselves from the virus: (i) Wear long sleeves (ii) use repellants and avoid going outside after sunset (iii) avoid places with standing water, uncut grass and garbage piles (iv) avoid self-medication but seek doctor's advice, (vi) contact field monitoring teams to get dengue spray in your areas.

Dr Zia said that the district health administration has deployed all the staff to deal with the dengue situation and at present, the situation was under control.

He said that he himself has visited field along with the teams and engage with community for creating awareness on dengue and monitor the surveillance.

"We make sure that all houses are covered following the standard instructions that help us to stop spread of dengue".

According to the latest figures, Sindh government so far has reported six dengue deaths and 2,345 cases of which 38 cases were reported in the past 24 hours.

The health authorities of Balochistan, so far have reported a total 1,750 dengue cases from Gwadar, Kech, and Lasbela districts.

Punjab has reported nine deaths owing to dengue fever and 4,176 dengue cases of which 169 cases were detected in the past 24 hours. According to the official data, so far, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health department has a total 2,456 cases.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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