Causes of dengue virus

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AS dengue virus is killing more and more people with the passage of each day, the Federal Government has reportedly decided to seek help of the international health organizations and experts to investigate the cause of its large-scale spread in the country. The Health Ministry will write letters to World Health Organization (WHO), US-based Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Sri Lankan health experts requesting them to arrange visits of experts to Pakistan to investigate the real causes of spread of dengue.
The move comes in the backdrop of reporting of over sixteen thousand cases of dengue patients in parts of Pakistan especially in Punjab and twin-cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The twin-cities are worst hit where over six thousand dengue cases have been registered at the government and private hospitals during the last few weeks while the total death toll in the two cities reached to thirteen with six more deaths at allied hospitals on Sunday. There is no doubt that both the Federal and Punjab governments are doing the needful to provide all possible medical facilities to the affected people. But dengue virus has much to do with preventive measures which had been lacking during the last two years and we have been pointing out this reality in these columns time and again. The decision to seek assistance of foreign experts to check its spread is also reflective of the resolve of the Government to address the situation on a long-term basis but these experts visited Pakistan a few years back as well and the provincial government had launched a strategy that delivered as there were no cases of dengue during that period. The causes of spread of dengue virus are well known and visits of the foreign experts would add nothing substantial to what we already know except addition of financial burden on the national exchequer. The outbreak of dengue virus can be better understood if one visits different areas of the twin cities and for that matter other cities of Punjab where the state of cleanliness has plummeted despite launching of Clean and Green Pakistan initiative. One can see that even solid waste is not managed properly and heaps of garbage remain on roads, streets and outside homes for days and a situation like that of Karachi might emerge if no action was taken now. This is despite the fact that the provincial government assigned the task of lifting of garbage and cleanliness to a Turkish-based company, the efforts of which made a real difference but we are now back to square one as the government is not even paying the company to buy petrol for garbage lifting vehicles and the filth is allowed on streets and roads for days. The employees are also complaining frequently about non-payment of salaries. Apart from this, fumigation and spraying campaign has been launched after large-scale spread of the virus and even then it is not sustained as it used to be in the time of PML-N government. Please review your policies and approach, allocate necessary resources for health and sanitation and make field teams to act timely.