With rise in mercury, more and more cases of gastroenteritis are being reported in different hospitals of the Punjab metropolis where over 1500 patients, mostly children, have so far been admitted. The overall figure in the province has crossed 11,000 which is alarming by any standard. Doctors hold a consensus view that the use of contaminated water and stale food were the main causes. A spokesman of health department said that the government had ensured provision of necessary medicines in the hospitals.

Apart from gastro, measles has been spreading fast in Punjab particularly in major cities like Lahore and Rawalpindi where gastro-related death toll has crossed the figure of 200. Earlier, measles had also killed more than 200 children in Sindh. Hundreds of patients including women and children with complaints of diarrhoea and vomiting are reporting at hospitals and clinics all over Punjab. This epidemic can be controlled largely by promoting simple hygienic measures including washing of the hands with soap and water before preparing or eating food or feeding a child, after defecation or coming into contact with dirty goods. Sale of cut fruits at roadside vendors in unhygienic conditions should be banned. And eatables should be covered and protected from flies. Fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before cooking or eating. Experts advise people to avoid cold dishes from the market like dhai bhalas, channa chat, chatni, raita, salads etc. Sources of the infection are improperly prepared food, reheated meat dishes, seafood, dairy and bakery products, substandard soft drinks, sodas, beverages, ice creams, sliced fruits, over-ripe or rotten fruits, rubri, milk and sugarcane juice. Publicity campaign, especially directed at the illiterate sections of society, advising them to take precautionary measures should be launched.