KHYBER AGENCY - After several other parts of the region, leishmania, a skin disease, has also broke out in Khyber Agency, affecting at least 14,000 people in three teshils of the agency, officials at the health department said.

The most affected areas of Landi Kotal tehsil include Shiekhmal Khel, Mirdad Khel, Zakha Khel, Khuga Khel, Khyber and Pased Khel while the disease is also rapidly spreading in localities of Ali Masjid, Lala Cheena, Godar and Shahkas of Jamrud tehsil, while Aka Khel and Bar-Kamber Khel areas of tehsil Bara are also affected, the officials said.

According to the health officials, leishmania is caused by the bite of a kind of mosquito known as sand fly, found in hilly areas, which usually breeds in fresh water.

Dr Fazal Razeq, a skin specialist at the Agency Headquarters Hospital, said that sand fly that had been transported from Europe to Pakistan stung on exposed portions of the body in morning and evening times and could fly up to height of 4 to 5 feet, which, he said, was the reason that children were affected the most by the disease. He added that after biting of the fly, it developed as skin sore and if not treated, spotted the affected area, especially the face.

It usually takes 14 days to 4 months to treat a patient and the disease can be treated with vaccines, medicines and cryotherapy, keeping in view condition of the disease, he stated. “Covering of ponds, clearing of drainage system, conducting anti-mosquito spray regularly, use of dresses that cover the whole body and installing nets on windows and entrances before going to sleep could prevent the disease, Dr Razeq maintained.

A female victim of the disease, daughter of Arab Shah, resident of Kam-Shelman, said that 2 months ago, she suffered from leishmania and had been visiting the hospital since then. She lamented that the required facilities for treatment of the disease were not available in the hospitals in her area. The hospitals lack required vaccines and medicines that caused her symptoms to deteriorate further, she added.

Ameenullah of Mirdad Khel, whose daughter Marwa, 9, was recently bitten by sand fly, said that in the market, price of Leishmania injection was beyond his capability as he was a daily-wage labourer. Therefore, I took my daughter to the government hospital for free treatment but to no avail, he narrated.

The affected families stressed the authorities to provide the required medicines to the hospitals so that to enable them to get treatment for the disease. They also urged the authorities to carryout anti-mosquito spray in the area to halt spread of the disease.

The Agency Surgeon Dr Ayub said that data of leishmania patients along with their grievances had been convoyed to Director Health Fata for forthwith action but unluckily, there was shortage of the vaccines and medicines in the market and the health department besides the political administration was striving hard to arrange the medicines to facilitate the people.

“In near future, the health department will also conduct anti-mosquito spray across the agency and nets will be distributed among the people of more vulnerable localities”, Dr Ayub said. He advised the residents of the most affected areas to strictly follow preventive measures to restrict further spread of the disease.

AERIAL FIRING, KITE FLYING BANNED

Staff Reporter from Peshawar adds: Deputy Commissioner imposed ban on aerial firing, pigeon/kite flying around the airfield in areas of Peshtakhara, Landi Akhund Ahmad, Gharhi Sikandar Khan, Nawa Kalay, Shaheed Abad, Bara Gate, Custom Chowk, Aabdara Road, Tehkal and Pawakka areas of the city.

The order is effective immediately and would remain enforced for 60 days from the date of issuance, unless modified or withdrawn, a notification stated.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Peshawar High Court notified November 27, 2017 as the date from which Section 6 of the Companies Act, 2017 shall be effective in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It was notified by registrar of the Peshawar High Court.