Alarming rise in chikungunya virus cases in Sindh
KARACHI: With more than a quarter of the current year remaining, chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, has already affected more than 4,000 people — more than tenfold of the number reported last year — in the province, officials said on Friday.
Officials in the Sindh health department reckoned Malir as the most affected district of the city vis-à-vis the brunt of the highly painful disease. People from those areas routinely flock to hospitals with little effort being witnessed on the part of the government to rein in its incidence.
Figures issued by the dengue prevention and control programme, which also records the incidence of chikungunya for being caused by a similar vector, showed the disease affected 50 people in the city from Sept 1 to 15.
During the current year, the officials said, chikungunya affected a total of 4,138 people, while the number of total victims by the disease last year was 405.
Karachi topped the list of the cities in the province with most chikungunya cases, as more than 3,400 cases were reported here. The desert district of Tharparkar recorded more than 600 of the remaining cases.
Of the 4,138 cases, 3,400 have been reported in Karachi alone in about nine months
The officials said Malir remained the district with most chikungunya cases, while Gadap was among the city’s 18 towns where most of the cases were reported.
“These figures could be more if all the hospitals and clinics report us about the chikungunya cases from across Sindh,” said a senior health official.
A team of the dengue prevention and control programme had visited Tharparkar and found many villages in the desert, and most in Chhachhro taluka having water reservoirs infested with the larvae causing chikungunya.
Officials said the team had taken some appropriate measures to kill the larvae, since then the number of patients of the disease had significantly dropped.
In Karachi as well, they added, insufficient fumigation effort did little to kill the mosquito.
“The disease could be controlled with proper awareness among the people. They should clean their water tanks regularly, use nets while sleeping and do not leave water in open containers,” said an official.
Interestingly, the numbers of total dengue cases this year (1,030) are less than half of the last year’s total figures.
Officials said that could be because of people were developing immunity against dengue which had played havoc in the past more than a decade and scores of people died because of the disease.
“Chikungunya cannot kill, but it is hugely painful. It has arrived from India, and is here to stay. We can save ourselves from it through proper awareness,” said an official.
Officials in the provincial government said the virus had also spread as effective measure had not been taken by the city municipalities to improve sanitation conditions and prevent mosquito breeding.
An official of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, however, claimed fumigation was being carried out across the city.
Anti-polio drive begins today
Officials in the city administration and emergency operation centre for polio in Sindh said a citywide anti-polio campaign would begin on Saturday (today) in which some 2.3 million children aged five or less would be targeted.
A similar campaign would be launched elsewhere in Sindh from Monday in which 6.1m children would be covered.
Officials said all the relevant departments including law enforcement agencies had been asked to make the campaigns a success, as the first polio case of the year in a seven-month-old child had devastated the authorities.
Directives have been issued to cancel private schools’ registration if they refused to vaccinate children on their premises by the directorate of inspection and registration of private institutions.
Man dies of Congo fever
A 35-year-old man, who came from Quetta, died of Congo Crimean Haemorrhagic Fever at a private hospital in the city, officials said on Friday.
They said that the man died on Wednesday.
They added that another patient suspected of the same disease, also from Quetta, had been admitted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.
The officials said four people, all brought from Quetta, died this year because of Congo fever.