Pakistan faces dengue and conjunctivitis outbreak amid poor hygiene conditions

Pakistan has witnessed a surge in the dengue virus and conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eye’s transparent membrane, has been reported due to poor sanitation and hygiene practices following the monsoon season.

Reports have indicated a notable outbreak of conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye disease, leading to a continuous influx of patients seeking medical attention at both public and private healthcare facilities in Karachi.

“We are still getting worryingly high numbers of patients that constitute almost half of the cases that report at our out-patient department,” shared Prof Nisar Ahmed Siyal, senior ophthalmologist and head of the department at Ojha Institute of Ophthalmology, part of the Dow University of Health Sciences.

Meanwhile, the dengue virus is spreading rapidly across the country as 84 new cases were reported within the last 24 hours in Punjab.

Conjunctivitis Cases Rise in Karachi

The elevated humidity levels in Karachi and neighboring areas of Sindh create favorable conditions for the rapid spread of conjunctivitis during the Monsoon season.

“The disease is highly prevalent in Karachi these days as around 20 percent of the patients visiting the out-patient departments (OPDs) of hospitals are suffering from it”, revealed, Dr. Shayan Shadmani, a consultant ophthalmologist and eye surgeon at South City Hospital in Karachi.

He emphasized the importance of seeking professional medical care instead of resorting to self-medication to prevent potential harm to patients’ eyes.

On September 1, responding to a notable upsurge in cases, the director-general of the provincial health department issued a preventive advisory that aimed to mitigate the transmission of conjunctivitis.

Pink Eye – causes and treatment

What is pink eye infection? Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is an inflammation (redness) of the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that lines the inside surface of your eyelid and outer coating of your eye. You can get pink eye from viruses, bacteria, allergens and other causes. Pink eye caused by bacteria or viruses is highly contagious.

What are the symptoms of pink eye?

  • Redness in the white of your eye or inner eyelid.
  • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over your eyelashes, especially after sleep.
  • Green or white discharge from your eye.
  • Itchy or burning eyes. 
  • Blurred vision.
  • Swollen eyelids.

How is pink eye treated? Treatment of pink eye varies depending on whether it’s caused by bacteria, virus, or allergen.

Treatment for pink eye caused by bacteria – In this case, the doctor will recommend a prescription for antibiotics such as eye drops, ointments or pills.

Treatment for pink eye caused by viruses – Pink eye caused by a common virus usually doesn’t need treatment as antibiotics can’t treat pink eye caused by a virus. Nut it is always recommended to get your doctor’s advice.

Treatment for pink eye caused by allergies – Allergic conjunctivitis is treated with doctor’s prescription or over-the-counter eye drops. 

500 dengue cases reported in Islamabad and Rawalpindi

The hospitals in Islamabad have received 20 new dengue patients in the last 24 hours, District Health Office Dr Zaeem Zia said.

Of the total 20 new cases 11 were reported from rural areas, including Koral, Tarnol, Tarlai and Alipur, and Bharakahu, and 9 from urban areas. The health officer said that the total number of dengue patients in the capital rose to 207.

In Rawalpindi, the number of dengue cases has surged to 301, as an additional 16 patients were reported in the last 24 hours.

Dr. Sajjad Mehmood, the District Coordinator for Epidemics Prevention and Control (DCEPC), provided details on the new cases, revealing that 12 patients came from Potohar Town Urban, two from Chaklala Cantonment, and one each from Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation and Kalar Syeda areas.

Punjab and KP provinces report several new dengue cases

The provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also grappling with a significant rise in dengue cases.

In Punjab, health authorities have officially recorded 1,458 cases of this viral infection across 36 districts this year. Lahore leads with 562 cases, followed by Rawalpindi with 271, Multan with 166, Faisalabad with 112, and Gujranwala with 54 infections.

“At present, a total of 62 dengue patients are under treatment in hospitals across Punjab, whose condition is stable,” Khan said in a statement.

In KP, the health department reported a sudden spike of 97 new dengue cases with the total cases in KP standing at 97, spread across multiple districts, according to Professor Dr. Riaz Anwar Khan, the health adviser to the chief minister.

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