KARACHI: Of the 287 patients admitted to different government and private hospitals in the city since Sept 21, 216 (75 per cent) have been confirmed to have contracted dengue fever while the blood test reports of many of them are still awaited. According to data released by the Sindh Dengue Surveillance Cell, 31 new dengue suspected patients were admitted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, the Dr Ziauddin Hospital, the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, the Karachi Adventists Hospital and the Kutiyana Memon Hospital with a history of high-grade fever and bleeding from nose and gums till Friday morning.
The latest admissions raised the number of patients suspected for dengue fever to 622, almost double the number recorded on September 21. Till September 20 the number of suspected patients stood at 355, out of which 196 were found positive for dengue fever.
The data gave to understand that since January this year 66 per cent of the suspected patients were tested positive for dengue fever, while five of them died. As many as four patients died during a span of one week in September. About 68 patients are still admitted to 12 hospitals in the city.
The latest death from the dengue fever occurred on Sept 30 when a young man, a resident of Qasba Colony, died at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
While the dengue outbreak continues to send more suspected cases to hospitals, health experts criticised the Karachi city government and said that health officials concerned should ensure effective fumigation or fogging of drugs to eliminate mosquitoes in order to control the already worsening situation.
They also stressed the need of an enhanced monitoring exercise and said that a good number of hospitals and dispensaries in private and public sector have also been receiving such cases and should be brought in the surveillance net. Meanwhile, the focal person for dengue fever surveillance cell, Dr Shakeel A Mullick, said that dengue suspected or positive patients were brought to hospitals almost from every part of the city. Hospitals reported that the patients visiting to the OPDs or admitted to the hospitals lived in Golimar, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Baldia, Clifton, Federal B Area, Malir, Korangi, Bihar Colony, Qasba Colony, Orangi, North Nazimabad, New Karachi, North Karachi, DHA, and Karachi University campus.
Dr Mullick said that the surveillance cell was already in contact with the health authorities concerned, including the federal health ministry and the World Health Organisation and had been passing the dengue related figures to them as well.
Replying to a question, he said that the city government had been asked to intensify fumigation in order to eliminate the mosquito breeding fields. “The government hospitals are also under instructions to arrange mega platelets units for the deserving patients free of cost and so far the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and the Civil Hospital Karachi have provided 16 and five bags of platelets, respectively, to the patients.”
An expert associated with a university said that the dengue positive cases were on a rise and the trend would continue during October.
Concerns over dengue cases on KU campus
Teachers at Karachi University (KU) have raised serious concern over the increasing number of dengue cases on the campus where a death has already occurred from the disease and a number of cases have recently been reported. At the moment, there are four positive and as many suspected cases of dengue on the campus.
Accusing the university administration of showing utter neglect towards the employees’ health issues, the teachers said that university officials were reluctant to take any step to control the spread of dengue on the campus, though a young son of a teacher had already died of the disease.
Speaking to Dawn, Dr Abid Husnain, the president of Karachi University Teachers’ Society (Kuts), said that the society representatives had held a meeting 10 days ago with Prof Nasiruddin Khan, the KU pro vice chancellor, who assured the delegation that the administration would take emergency measures in three days to minimise the threat of dengue on the campus. However, nothing had been done to remove heaps of garbage and cut the weed that had grown large during recent rains on the campus, he said.
The campus area, he said, had not increased over the years, though the number of non-teaching staff had increased manifold.
“The university has over 100 gardeners in files, but no one has ever seen them working. It’s simply mismanagement on the part of the KU administration, demonstrating extreme insensitivity,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that Mohammad Rehan Khan, the teenage son of Prof (Dr) Shakeel Auj, a teacher at the Islamic Learning Department, died of dengue on Sept 21. This was the first case of dengue related death on the campus.
Dr Shakeel Auj in his letter to the vice chancellor demanded the establishment of a committee to probe the reasons of his son’s death and an increase in the number of doctors on the campus. Currently, there are only three doctors for around 3,600 regular varsity staff.