Dengue Fever – Pakistan

As many as 149 people have so far been killed in the country due to dengue fever in 2022, of which the highest number of deaths, 62, were reported in Sindh.

Around 78,554 confirmed dengue cases have been reported from entire Pakistan till December 27, 2022. 62 people died due to complications of dengue in Sindh, 50 people died in Punjab, 18 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 11 in Islamabad and 8 died in Balochistan.

The highest number of cases was reported in Sindh where 23,191 confirmed dengue fever cases were detected, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where 22,960 were reported while 19,024 cases were reported in Punjab. In Balochistan, 6,534 people tested positive for dengue fever, 5,401 people tested positive for the vector-borne disease in Islamabad and 1,444 dengue fever cases were reported from Azad Jammu Kashmir where no death was reported.

Photo: Aedes aegypti or yellow fever mosquito.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the dengue virus. Dengue is spread by several species of female mosquitoes but typically by a mosquito that has white markings on its legs and sides.

Dengue can exist anywhere that mosquitoes live and is fast becoming a global problem. As the world’s climate becomes warmer, the mosquito’s distribution has increased significantly in the past decades. Dengue is fast becoming a larger problem than malaria.

Symptoms may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. In a small proportion of cases, the disease develops into severe dengue, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. A later reinfection can also cause serious complications.

Controlling mosquito populations is the main way to prevent and reduce dengue. Wearing long-sleeved clothing and long trousers when outdoors is always a good idea. In countries where the disease is endemic, use mosquito netting over the bed if the bedroom is not air conditioned or screened.

The first record of a case of probable dengue fever is in a Chinese medical encyclopedia from the Jin Dynasty (265–420 AD) which referred to a "water poison" associated with flying insects. The primary mosquito vector, A. aegypti, spread out of Africa in the 15th to 19th centuries due in part to increased globalization secondary to the slave trade.

The origins of the Spanish word dengue are unknown, but it is possibly derived from "dinga" in Swahili, meaning a disease caused by an evil spirit.

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