KARACHI: Expressing concern over the high number of dengue and malaria cases being reported in Karachi and rest of the province, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has called upon the government to make ongoing anti-mosquito spray campaigns more effective and drain out stagnant water/sewage from the flood-affected areas as well as Karachi.

The PMA issued guidelines for dengue prevention as well as management of the viral disease, which has already gripped the city as hundreds and thousands of patients are reporting daily at government and private hospitals as well to general practitioners.

“There is no vaccine or specific treatment available for dengue fever and the only prevention is to eliminate mosquitoes. This will also help prevent other mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, currently prevalent in the flood-affected areas, chikungunya infection and Zika fever,” the association stated.

According to PMA’s guidelines on dengue fever management, the disease symptoms begin three to four days after infection and might include high fever, headache, vomiting and pain in the muscles, joints, eyes and bones.

It can also be associated with skin rashes. In the worst condition, there could be bleeding from gums, nose, mouth, ears and other parts of the body.

“Take all preventive measures to avoid mosquito bite with the help of sprays, nets, mosquito mats, repellent solutions, etc. Cover water tanks and clean stagnant water found in or around the house. School management should allow the students to wear trousers and full shirts and get their school premises sprayed against mosquitoes,” the PMA stated.

It added: “In case of high-grade fever, do not take any antibiotic medicine, anti-malarial tablet or aspirin. Always take advice from qualified doctors. Drink plenty of water, eat home-made fresh food, have sound sleep, which will help improve body immunity.”

For doctors, the association advised that they should deal with patients carefully and avoid prescribing antibiotic or anti-malarial medicine in a case of dengue fever.

“We have seen cases in which there was a sudden drop in platelet counts. Hence, it would be better if the patient gets his CBC [complete blood count] test done within 24 hours of developing signs and symptoms. If this report shows low platelet count, then one should go for a dengue test,” said Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro of the PMA.

He urged doctors to focus on oral rehydration and offer symptomatic treatment to dengue patients.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2022

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