Dengue fever claims lives of two elderly persons
The dreaded dengue haemorrhagic fever has claimed two more lives in Karachi, as two elderly persons died near the end of last week at a private hospital, Sindh Health Department officials said on Monday.
“A 77-year-old man died due to dengue fever at the Aga Khan University Hospital on Saturday, while a 64-year-old woman died due to complicated dengue fever at the same hospital on Friday,” Sindh Dengue Prevention & Control Programme chief Dr Abdul Rasheed told The News.
With the two latest deaths, the number of casualties because of the mosquito-borne viral disease has reached eight, said the health official, adding that the hospital reported both the deaths to the authorities on Monday due to holidays in connection with Ashura.
Health experts say Karachi is in the grip of mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya, as dozens of people have died due to vector-borne diseases in the city following the recent monsoon rains, but since majority of the public and private hospitals do not share their data with the authorities, the deaths often go unreported.
The dengue programme chief said 77-year-old Marghoob Ali, a resident of Malir Cantonment, was taken to the hospital due to high-grade fever and other complications, adding that he was diagnosed with dengue fever and died due to dengue shock syndrome on Saturday.
Dr Rasheed said 64-year-old Rukhsana Yaqoob was admitted to the hospital with a similar complaint and related complications, adding that she had passed away on Friday. He claimed that being elderly, both the patients could not fight the viral disease and their low immunity resulted in other complications, which caused their deaths.
“Dengue is not a lethal disease per se, but it can get fatal for children under the age of 10 and for the elderly over the age of 50,” he said, and urged people to take precautionary measures to prevent children and the elderly from contracting it.
He said that last month 58-year-old Nasim Khawaja, a resident of the Garden locality, had died after she was admitted to the Aga Khan University Hospital with high-grade fever, and despite the best efforts of the medical team, she passed away.
Health experts say hundreds of dengue fever cases have been reported at public and private hospitals across the metropolis after the recent spell of monsoon rains, as accumulated rainwater provides suitable breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Similarly, cases of malaria and chikungunya, both vector-borne diseases caused by mosquitoes, are also reported to be on the rise across the city. “Last year we had 2,418 dengue cases with three deaths. This year, though only 908 dengue cases have been reported across Sindh and though the number of deaths has doubled, our efforts to control the spread of dengue were quite satisfactory,” said Dr Rasheed.
Urging people to take precautionary measures to save themselves from mosquito bites, the dengue programme chief said they should wear full-body clothes and use mosquito repellents and mosquito nets.
Similarly, cleanliness in and around homes is the responsibility of the citizens, while the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation should conduct fumigation across the city to get rid of mosquitoes, he added.