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ISLAMABAD: Dengue fever across the country is spiking at an alarming rate, especially, in the rural areas, as countrywide 16,330 dengue cases have been recorded, of which 40 people have lost their lives.

Of the total cases, recorded till October 15, the majority, 5,709 dengue cases were recorded in the Punjab, of which, 504 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, as per official data collected by Business Recorder. In Punjab, 18 people have lost their lives due to dengue virus so far.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) has reportedly detected over 3,300 cases of mosquito-borne disease and four deaths. Sindh so far has reported over 2,550 dengue infections this year, while the virus has claimed 12 lives. In Balochistan, 1,841 cases have been recorded, while there have been no deaths.

In Azad Jammu and Kashmir as well no deaths have been reported but the tally of cases in the federating unit is 905 to date. The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) has detected a total 1,801 dengue cases, of which 84 cases were reported in the past 24 hours.

In ICT, six people have lost their lives due to dengue fever, of which one death was reported in the past 24 hours. Of the cases reported in Punjab, the majority, 74 percent, have been from the city of Lahore alone, notes the data of Punjab's Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department.

In ICT region, dengue virus testing facility is only available at the National Institute of Health (NIH)situated in Chak Shahzador 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 Rs3,600 for dengue test, while the NIH is not performing test until recommended by a physician. 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 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 dengue fever is spreading in various parts of Islamabad, wherein, so far, a total of 1,801 cases have been reported of which six people have died.

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

DHO Dr Zia said 152 cases emerged, on Friday, which was the highest number since October 13, when 125 cases were reported. He said 84 were reported from rural and 68 from urban areas of the capital.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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