Saturday, September 23, 2023

Pakistan reports massive outbreak of diarrhea, dengue and malaria among flood victims

Flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan are struggling to fight outbreaks of diarrhea, dengue, skin infections, acute respiratory disease, chest infections, malaria, and other waterborne diseases as the government and welfare organizations established hundreds of medical camps countrywide to treat patients in flood-hit regions, officials said on Monday.

According to public and private health officials, vector-borne and waterborne diseases have started killing both adults and children in the flood-hit areas in various districts of Sindh, Balochistan, and southern Punjab. According to an official of the Directorate General of Health Sindh:

  • So far, 511 people have died in the southern Sindh province including 219 children
  • Over 17,000 people have been treated for skin infections at 442 fixed and mobile camps in Sindh
  • Diarrhea, gastroenteritis, typhoid, and dysentery are the most common diseases in flood-hit areas
  • Respiratory infections are also increasing at an alarming rate, with over 13,326 reported cases of respiratory illness
  • Around 14,869 cases of waterborne diseases were reported at 442 medical camps on Friday

The Sindh government has established 110 medical camps and allocated 117 doctors and 277 paramedics, who have treated over 785,000 patients in flood-hit areas since July.

Dengue cases Spike in Sindh

Stats shared by the Sindh government show a spike in the number of dengue cases in the province:

  • Cases rose from 361 in July to 1,336 in September
  • 257 cases alone have been reported in the first four days of September
  • 2,825 total dengue cases have been reported throughout the province this year
  • 94 people were diagnosed with dengue on Saturday while 161 people were admitted to hospitals on Thursday and Friday
  • 2,462 cases were reported in Karachi only
  • On daily basis, Jinnah Hospital is receiving 30 to 40 dengue cases
  • 25 to 30 dengue patients reported at Civil Hospital daily

Dr. Omar Sultan, an official at Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical Center (JPMC), said some 50 people were currently admitted to four wards of the hospital in Karachi. 

“These are three percent of the patients as 97 percent of the patients are being sent to homes from out-patient departments (OPDs),” Dr, Sultan added.

Aerial Fogging to be provided

The rapid spread of mosquitoes in the flood-hit areas of Sindh has led to a high number of daily dengue cases, said Mehar Khursheed, a spokesperson for the Sindh health department.

“The cases of malaria are also increasing due to water contamination. A lot of places are still inaccessible to health teams and the real picture of diseases would be known only after the floods water recedes,” she said.

“We are working on provision of special planes for aerial fogging as the situation regarding waterborne diseases was getting dangerous,” she added.

Pakistan floods 2022 snapshot (June 14 – September 7)

  • 33 million affected by floods 
  • 1,343 lost their lives including 474 children 
  • 12,720 injured
  • 1.6 million houses either partially or fully destroyed
  • 751,000 livestock lost
  • 6,579 km of roads and 246 bridges damaged
  • More than 633,900 in relief camps

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