Authorities refute reports of Chikungunya outbreak in rural Malir
Despite the area’s extremely poor sanitary conditions, rural Malir was not under the grip of a Chikungunya epidemic, claimed Karachi Health Director Dr Muhammad Taufiq in a news conference on Monday.
Accompanied by heads of the provincial dengue and malaria control programs including Dr Abdul Rasheed, Dr Naheed Jamali, Dr Arif Niaz and others, Dr Taufiq said he visited the areas along with his team on Sunday.
“I went to several villages, went door-to-door to interview people but found no evidence of epidemic of any particular vector-borne disease,” he said. “Sanitary conditions in these areas are extremely poor and provide a favourable breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Dr Taufiq added.
He said a team of the health department also visited a public hospital in the area to inquire about the number of patients being brought to the hospital daily, and, to their surprise, of the 100 to 120 patients, only around 20 had complained of a fever.
As per Dr Taufiq, the team found out that the causes of the fever were reportedly due to bacterial infections and diseases other than chikungunya. The city’s health director said the officials also observed patients diagnosed with the vector-borne disease, but some of them had already overcome the viral infection.
Some of them were still in a recovery phase and were advised to follow the recommended course of symptomatic treatment and also adopt precautionary measures to prevent the disease from spreading.
“Health department officials also advised people to improve sanitation conditions in and around their homes, remove stagnant sewage from outside their houses and streets and take precautionary measures to protect themselves from mosquitoes,” he said.
The medical practitioner observed that chikungunya was not a deadly disease, but if the growth of mosquitoes is not controlled in the area other vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue, can wreak havoc there.
Criticising the city’s civic authorities, he observed that after recent rains, the city’s sanitation conditions worsened while the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation failed to perform its responsibilities of lifting garbage, cleaning roads and conducting fumigation drives.
“This negligence provided the mosquitoes with the best breeding grounds,” he stated.
Dr Taufiq urged the media, especially the electronic media, to refrain from creating any hype regarding the disease’s spread as the health department’s teams are alert and visiting different areas of the city to ascertain the situation. So far, no outbreak of any deadly, infectious disease has been reported from any part of the city, he reiterated.
“The office of director health Karachi is vigilant and keeping a close eye on the city’s health situation. We need people to cooperate with us in this regard and would also urge municipal authorities to play their role in improving environmental conditions of the metropolis,” the health director concluded.