Rawalpindi-A female patient died of dengue fever in Benazir Bhutto Hospital on Wednesday, said sources.

The deceased Amna Sharif, 26, resident of Gulraiz II, died in Intensive Caring Unit (ICU) in the evening, they added.

She was diagnosed with dengue virus a few days back and was admitted to the hospital, the sources said.

A senior doctor, while talking to The Nation, confirmed the death of the patient. He said that a total of 292 dengue suspects had landed in the hospital out of which 128 were found dengue positive after conducting serology by the doctors.

He added that some 28 patients were declared dengue negative whereas results of other 86 patients were being awaited.

Punjab has been struggling to contain a massive outbreak of dengue this year. Rawalpindi, its densely-populated city, has been at the centre of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the dengue surveillance teams operating in the city are facing shortage of spray pumps, something that can hamper government’s efforts for dengue prevention and control.

The district health department is also not providing field workers the glasses, gloves, face masks and caps owing to which the workers engage in spraying in dengue-hot areas are getting sick, according to a survey conducted by The Nation.

An anti-dengue team member said that the shortage of spray pumps was hampering their efforts to overwhelm dengue. “Sadiq Town and Dhama are the areas where dengue raise its ugly head and we are facing shortage of spray pumps to kill the mosquitoes,” he said adding that he had to borrow spray pumps from his colleague engaged in UC Chappar for performing his duty in UC Dhama.

“We are working in the field under very pathetic condition and suffering with nasal, throat and eye related deceases due to absence of safety kits,” said a field worker seeking anonymity. He said he and his other colleagues bring lemons from homes and request the people to prepare Lemo Pani for them for avoiding being ill.

Another field worker was of view that the government is not paying them the salaries in time. “We are also facing financial problems as we are hired against Rs 17000 per month,” he said. He said the dengue surveillance teams are given posters and broachers sans plaster or nails for pasting on walls during surveillance. “We have to buy even nails from our own pockets,” he said.

Many other anti dengue team workers including females agitated against the apathy of district government and demanded Chief Minister Punjab to equip them with safety kits so that they could avoid side effects of poisonous “Tiger Rubi” spray in the houses and in streets to kill dengue mosquitoes.

District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Mubashir, however, when contacted for his comments, admitted that dengue surveillance teams are operating in the field without adopting safety measures.

He said the district government has moved a summary to CM Secretariat for allocating funds for buying kits for field workers. He said the dengue surveillance teams would be equipped with safety kits soon.

Expert for awareness campaigns on mosquito-borne diseases

A medical practitioner on Wednesday called for raising better awareness of mosquito-borne diseases and preventive measures among people to prevent it from spreading further in coming days.

A consultant on communicable diseases, Dr Somro Hayyat advised the public to take special preventive measures and ensure cleanliness in and around their houses to avoid mosquito born disease in ongoing season.

He stressed to create awareness about dengue and malaria and to intensify preventive measures and preparedness for the control of disease in the country. He said that dengue was contracted with sudden onset of fever, followed by severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain and rashes.

He added that there were no specific antiviral medicines for dengue.

Early clinical diagnosis by physicians and proper clinical management lowers the fatality rates below one per cent. Use of analgesics (pain reliever), promoting patient to drink plenty of fluids and rest are important, he said.

He said that it was observed that majority of our population did not give proper attention to elimination of possible breeding sites of mosquitoes that increase chances of growth of dengue fever and malaria vectors.

Only by elimination of possible breeding sites of mosquitoes from inside homes, chances of a possible outbreak of dengue fever can be reduced to a significant extent, he said.

People should take precautionary measures like change water in their air coolers regularly. The overhead water tanks should also be cleaned form time to time, he added.

He suggested that the citizens should use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.

Due to lack of knowledge about how to effectively take preventive steps or what to do when infected despite the fact that extensive awareness campaigns have been held there over the past few years.

He said that awareness was key to preventing the mosquito-borne disease. “Instead of getting panicky, people need to be vigilant, he added.