Bus stops, railway stations and the airport have all become epicenters of dengue breeding as the government has completely neglected these crucial points in its ongoing drive against the deadly fever, Pakistan Today has learnt.
On the condition of anonymity, several health experts said that the authorities concerned were informed of a probable dengue surge after Eid when a large chunk of the population would unknowingly carrying the virus when moving to and from Karachi (which is under severe dengue attack). KEMU VC Professor Faisal Masood had warned the officials concerned about the potential risk in a high level meeting before Eid.
Three new patients in the metropolitan took the total number of dengue cases to 43, showing a slow and gradual increase in the disease’s spread. On its part, the government utilised its entire resources including the police department to cope with the menace, but the cases continue to rise.
“Vehicles, especially in the tyre and luggage compound, transport the dengue mosquito just as infected humans traffic the virus. When the mosquito makes its ground in the city, it can easily transmit the virus to humans and hence the cycle starts and grows bigger with time. It is impressive how the Punjab government has stopped dengue in Lahore, but these points (buses, trains and aircrafts) are constantly undermining the government’s efforts,” a senior microbiologist said.
Dengue would usually start from Karachi and then hit Lahore. Last year was an exception when the virus turned into an epidemic in Lahore without severely affecting Karachi. However, this year Karachi is the target with more than 450 reported cases throughout the city. Experts fear that if these transport points are not monitored, the fever could turn deadly like the previous year.
CM’s Adviser on Health Khwaja Salman Rafique said the chief minister has already constituted a team of experts to visit Sindh and deliver lectures on the request of Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah.
“I’ll direct the secretary transport to issue instructions for dengue surveillance, while the government has already devised a strategy on used tyres, which will either be shredded or recycled,” he said.