RAWALPINDI: The garrison city is witnessing a surge in dengue virus patients, with experts citing late larva eradication measures adopted by the relevant authorities behind the high number of cases.

A senior official of the district administration told Dawn that confirmed patients were coming from all the union councils because the anti-dengue drive had commenced in August whereas the first case emerged on June 26.

He said from January to August, efforts by the concerned departments remained limited to twice weekly meetings without any practical work.

The health department sped up its campaign when Kahuta’s union council Dophari and Chak Jalaldin were affected by the virus last month. However, the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) failed to force private housing societies to launch massive fogging in their areas, the official said.

On the other hand, the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC), Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards and the RDA failed to clear graveyards and open plots from shrubs and weeds. Moreover, no drive was launched to check tyre shops in Saddar, Raja Bazaar and College Road.

Dhama Syedan, Dhamial union councils most affected; experts believe late campaigns led to spread of virus

On Saturday, 115 patients arrived in the three government hospitals out of whom 77 were from the Rawalpindi district. With the latest figure, the tally of the season in the district has reason to 792.

A total of 175 confirmed dengue patients were admitted to the three government hospitals – 65 in Holy Family Hospital (HFH), 61 in Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) and 49 in the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital.

As many as 124 of the patients in these hospitals are from Rawalpindi, 41 from Islamabad, four from Haripur, two from Poonch and one each from Chakwal, Bagh, Abbottabad and Manshera.

The union councils of Dhama Syedan and Dhamial in the garrison city were the most affected as a large number of cases surfaced from these areas in the last two days.

Talking to Dawn, District Health Authority Chief Executive Officer Dr Anser Ishaq said teams had managed to check the spread of the virus in Kahuta and Chak Jalaldin in the outgoing week through fumigation and larviciding campaign.

He said the anti-dengue campaign had been expedited in all union councils while teams were conducting fogging in low-lying areas along Leh Nullah and Soan River.

Taxila

Amid efforts to protect the citizens living in the hotspots, the anti-dengue spray carried out by civic bodies proved short-lived as the number of cases continued to increase in Taxila.

It has been observed that various civic bodies, especially the cantonment board, have launched indoor residual spraying and fogging in the high-risk areas but the number of patients in hospitals increased to 40 on Saturday.

According to the local health department, 28 of the patients belonged to Wah Cantonment, three to urban and nine to rural areas of Taxila.

Health experts were of the view that the diesel spray being used by government departments made the mosquitoes escape from its smoke and stench but still remained a threat to residents of other areas.

The Cantonment Board Wah intensified the dengue prevention activities with the onset of monsoon rains.

Cantonment Executive Officer Rana Kashif reviewed the current situation of dengue fever with officials of the District Health Authority.

The health department in collaboration with the local administration and public health department of the cantonment board beefed up anti-dengue measures including door-to-door awareness drive and indoor residual spraying and fogging in high-risk areas.

When asked, an official of the health department said the anti-dengue drive was in full swing in Taxila and Wah, adding that teams were conducting indoor residual spraying and fogging.

He said over 85 anti-dengue teams were working in Taxila and Wah under the supervision of the tehsil health inspector.

Moreover, in connection with the anti-dengue measures launched by health department in Hassanabdal, one CNG station, flour mills, a car wash centre, two junkyards and two hotels were sealed. In Attock, the railway park was also closed after detection of dengue larva. Heavy fines were imposed on owners of commercial premises for violating the anti dengue measures.— Additional reporting by Amjad Iqbal

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2022

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