No epidemic of chickenpox in Punjab

Salim Ahmed

Director General Health Services Punjab Dr. Faisal Zahoor presided over a meeting of Technical Working Group of Health Department to review the situation of chickenpox in different districts of the province in Emergency Operation Center (EOC), here today.
Chief Executive Officers, District Health Authorities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Jhang, Bhakkar, Nankana Sahib, Toba Tek Singh and Sargodha as well as Provincial Representative of World Health Organization Dr. Jamshed, Director CDC Dr. Bashir Ahmad, Medical Director Children Hospital Lahore Prof. Dr. Ahsan Waheed Rathore and other concerned officers attended the meeting.
WHO Representative Dr. Jamshed said that there is no epidemic of chickenpox in Punjab, however, individual cases are being reported from different districts. The meeting was informed that vaccination of contact people of the patients and health providers is being carried out. Moreover, the authorities of Education Department have been advised to send the affected children on leave for one week to protect the other children.
The meeting was informed that at present, six patients of chickenpox are admitted in the hospitals, out of them two patients in Children Hospital Lahore and four are admitted in Allied Hospital Faisalabad. Sufficient stock of anti-viral medicines is available and the medicines are being provided to the patients.
Prof. Dr. Ahsan Waheed Rathore revealed that chickenpox commonly known as early age disease and majority of children suffered with this disease and cured in few days which create lifelong immunity among the children, however, he said that this time, the disease has changed its pattern and presently adults are also affected by the virus. It was informed that 16 deaths were reported due to chickenpox in Faisalabad out of them only two were children and the remaining 14 were between the age of 21 to 46 years.
CEOs informed that mass awareness campaigns have been conducted in the affected districts and only in Faisalabad, health education sessions have been conducted in 196 educational institutions.
Moreover, seminars, walks, radio programmes and advertisements campaign have been launched in the area. The experts recommended that vaccination of all the health providers in the affected districts is essential.
DG Health Dr. Faisal Zahoor directed to procure ten thousand doses of vaccine on urgent basis for vaccination of health providers and contact people of the patients. It was also decided that the meeting of Steering Committee on EPI should immediately be called for seeking advise to include chickenpox vaccine in regular EPI programme.
DG Health directed the CEOs Health to be vigilant and monitor the situation in their respective districts and all necessary arrangement must be ensured for the control of the disease and treatment of the patients.

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