Dengue fever breaks out in Pakistan as COVID-19 subsides

An outbreak of dengue fever has hit major Pakistani cities, overwhelming hospitals and further exhausting health workers already fatigued by the coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Wednesday.

Hospitals in the capital Islamabad and the eastern city of Lahore were running out of beds in the isolation wards as patients with the symptoms of the deadly fever continued to stream in.

Zaeem Zia, the capital’s Health Chief, said dozens of new cases of the mosquito-borne fever were being admitted to hospitals in Islamabad and the nearby city of Rawalpindi.

“More than 2,000 people were being treated in the central province of Punjab, where damp soil after heavy monsoon rains provides fertile ground for mosquitoes to multiply,” Mr Zia said.

“It is an alarming situation because some health teams have found larvae of the mosquito that causes dengue at around 2,000 locations.

“Dengue fever causes the blood platelets of the patient to drop to a dangerously low level that if not treated in a timely manner, results in death.

“Hundreds of people die of dengue every year across the South Asian region, where health-care systems aren’t well equipped to deal with the disease,” the provincial Health Minister, Yasmin Rashid, said.

Dengue fever is hitting Pakistan as the intensity of a fourth wave of the coronavirus has started to subside.

Less than three per cent of people who were tested for Covid-19 on Tuesday turned out to be positive, a ratio much lower than around 10 per cent in July.

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