Dengue affected patients mounted to over 8,000 in KP

ISLAMABAD: The number of dengue affected patients has mounted to over 8,000 and 21 patients died due to dengue epidemic so far in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to official sources, the doctors and paramedical staff have conducted dengue tests of 23,680 persons in various hospitals and diagnostic centres, out of which 5,613 patients were tested positive during screening of their bloods tests.

They said that still several hundred dengue patients were admitted at various hospitals of the province.

Meanwhile, National Institute of Health (NIH) has issued an advisory to the departments concerned to sensitize general public besides taking other steps as fever cases were being reported from different parts of the country.

An official of the institute said that the classic dengue fever is marked by rapid onset of high fever, headache, retro-orbital pain, diffuse body pain both muscle and bone, weakness, vomiting, sore throat, altered taste sensation, and a centrifugal maculopapular rash, among other manifestations.

He added the severity of the pain leads to the term break-bone fever to describe dengue. Sequential infections with different serotypes increase the risk for dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. He said that warning signs included severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, marked change in temperature from fever to hypothermia, haemorrhagic manifestations, change in mental status like irritability, confusion or obtundation and thrombocytopenia.

He said that early signs of shock included restlessness, cold clammy skin, rapid weak pulse, and narrowing of the pulse pressure like systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Patients with dengue fever should be advised to return to the hospital if they develop any of these signs, he added.

He said that there is no specific treatment for the disease and mainly relies on the management of symptoms, however, it is important for the attending physicians to exclude other treatable diagnoses.

He said that patients with dengue fever should be cautioned to maintain their intake of oral fluid to avoid dehydration. The most important measure to assist the patient with dengue fever is to carefully evaluate them for impending complications, such as early evidence of dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The official said that careful clinical detection and management of dengue patients can significantly reduce mortality rates from severe dengue.

He said that dengue fever is typically a self-limiting disease with a mortality rate of less than 1%. When treated, dengue hemorrhagic fever has a mortality rate of 2-5%, but when left untreated, the mortality rate may approach up-to 50%, he added.

He said that the dengue is the most common arthropod-borne viral illness in humans and has emerged as a worldwide problem only since the 1950s.

He said that detected first during 1994, the dengue fever has now become endemic in almost all geographical regions of Pakistan. There is substantial evidence that multiple serotypes of dengue virus are circulating in the different areas of the country.