Over the last 24 hours, 372 more people have tested positive for the disease.
At least two more people died of dengue fever at different hospitals in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday, taking the death toll to 23 over the last two months.
The deceased were under treatment at Hayatabad Medical Complex and Khyber Teaching Hospital in Peshawar, the capital city of the province, after they were diagnosed positive for the mosquito-born disease, Geo TV reported.
Over the last 24 hours, 372 more people have tested positive for the disease out of the 1,900 people who came to different hospitals of the province for medical examination, according to the Dengue Response Unit of the provincial health department.
"A total of 381 patients are admitted in the various hospitals of the province till now," said the health department, adding that 142 more patients infected with the dengue fever have been admitted to the hospitals over the last 24 hours.
About 4,500 people have been infected by the dengue fever in the province with majority of the cases being treated in provincial capital of Peshawar, the report said.
The provincial government is trying to overcome the disease by launching door-to-door awareness campaign about the disease and fumigation was being carried out in different areas of the province to kill the larvae of infected mosquitoes.
Apart from that, the provincial government has arranged free of cost diagnosis and treatment centres in all government hospitals of the province.
Health experts from the country's eastern Punjab province also visited various health departments of Peshawar and gave their expert opinion over the disease as Punjab successfully combated the catastrophic viral disease in 2014 after seeking advice from Sri-Lankan experts.
The Karachi disease outbreak has been making rounds on the local news channels and on online blogs. The mysterious disease was rumored to be Chikungunya and had affected more than 30,000 people from Malir in Karachi.
It turns out that Chikungunya was not the mysterious disease and the reports of it being the culprit behind the outbreak were false. World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health released a statement that clearly said that there are no cases of Chikungunya in Pakistan and any reports about the disease spreading in the country are false.
Read More: No Cases of Chikungunya Infection in Pakistan: WHO
With that out of the way, lets see what Chikungunya is about. According to Sun Tzu’s famous quote in the Art of War,
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
Knowing more about the disease, its causes, prevention and symptoms will benefit us in the long run as well. World Health Organization has also released a health advisory for the same as well so that people are aware and educated on the challenges that face them.
Chikungunya virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. These are the same mosquitoes that spread the Dengue virus as well. These mosquitoes live and breed near stagnant or polluted water and infect humans with their bite. The female mosquito is the one that transmits the Chikungunya virus.
Although the disease is not contagious, it can spread from an infected person to others if the mosquito feeds on the infected person first and then bites other people, with the infected blood being transmitted in the process.
The symptoms for Chikungunya and Dengue are similar. One can be mistaken for the other. They appear between 4-7 days after the patient has been bitten by an infected mosquito.
The symptoms are:
- Fever and joint pain,
- Headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or widespread red rash,
- Joint pain (lower back, ankle, knees, wrists or phalanges),
- Fatigue, nausea and vomiting are also known to occur,
- Rarely mouth ulcers, loss of taste and conjunctivitis has been reported.
The disease is rarely fatal and the virus remains your system for 5-7 days. Once you recover from this infection you will be immune to it for the rest of your life.
Newborn babies, older citizens and persons with chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk of contracting Chikungunya.
Usual measures to counter mosquitoes that spread Malaria and Dengue can be used to counter Chikungunya as well
- Take extra precaution from dawn to dusk
- Maintain good hygiene and take precautions while travelling
- Wear protective clothing with long sleeved shirts and long pants with socks and shoes.
- Reduce mosquito habitat by eliminating sources of garbage, stagnant water and sewers.
- Use mosquito repellent
As mentioned earlier, the symptoms for Dengue and Chikungunya are similar. You should get laboratory confirmation to be sure about it. There is no specific treatment or antiviral drug available for Chikungunya.
No commercial vaccines for the virus are available either.
Here are some of the best practices you can follow if you are suffering from Dengue or Chikungunya:
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration from vomiting and high fever
- Plenty of rest is advised
- Avoid pain relievers like aspirin (eg. Disprin), ibuprofen (eg. Brufen) and naproxen sodium
- The above mentioned pain relievers can make the symptoms worse therefore they should be avoided.
- Non-aspirin analgesics like paracetamol can be taken.
- Acetaminophen can reduce pain and fever and should also be taken
- Seek medical help as soon as possible