An anti-dengue awareness seminar was held at the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry auditorium where speakers stressed the need for speeding up efforts to promote awareness against dengue in all segments of society especially students, enabling them to curb the menace.

EDO (Health) Sialkot Capt (r) Dr Ziaul Hassan, District Health Officer Dr Javaid Warraich (Focal Person Anti Dengue Programme for Sialkot district), MPAs Muhammad Ikram, Zulfiqar Ghauri, Sialkot DCO Iftikhar Ali Sahu, Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sheikh Abdul Majid, journalists, doctors, nurses, leady health workers, traders and teachers were also present. They showed keen interest in this anti-dengue awareness and its preventive measures.

Addressing the seminar, the EDO narrated that dengue hemorrhagic fever is a potentially deadly complication in about 1-3% of cases that begins with a sudden rise in temperature which usually continues for two to seven days and can be as high as 40-41°C. In moderate DHF cases, all signs and symptoms abate after the fever subsides. In severe cases, the patient’s condition may suddenly deteriorate after a few days of fever when the temperature drops, followed by signs of circulatory failure. With modern intensive supportive therapy, the fatality rates can be reduced to less than 1 percent, he added.

He said that dengue spreads through the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito. “The mosquito gets the virus by biting an infected person. The first symptoms of the disease occur about 5-7 days after the infected bite. There is no way to tell if a mosquito is carrying the dengue virus. Therefore, people must protect themselves from all mosquito bites. He said that the people should also remove all objects containing water such as plant saucers from the house. All stored water containers should be kept covered at all times. Collect and destroy discarded containers in which water collects, such as bottles, plastic bags, tins, tyres, etc. Efficient disposal of all solid waste/garbage could also help to avert dengue virus menace. Keep body temperature below 39oC. Give the patient paracetamol (not more than four times in 24 hours). Fever can also be reduced by sponging patient with tepid water,” he added.

Giving details about the dengue mosquito, DHO revealed that the dengue mosquitoes bite during the daytime. “So, protect yourself from the bite. People should wear full-sleeve clothes and long dresses to cover the limbs. Avoid wearing black colour, besides, using repellents. Care should be taken in using repellents on very young children or the elderly. He advised that people should use mosquito coils and electric vapor mats during the daytime to prevent mosquito bites, besides, using insecticide treated nets to protect young children, pregnant women, old people, in addition to others who may rest during the day. Curtains (cloth or bamboo) can also be treated with insecticide and hung at windows or doorways, to repel or kill mosquitoes,” he added.

He said that dengue mosquitoes breed in water. “The favourite breeding places are: barrels, drums, jars, pots, buckets, flower vases, plant saucers, tanks, discarded bottles/tins, tyres, or water coolers, and other places where rainwater is accumulated or is stored. The mosquito eggs become adults in about 10 days,” he added.

On this occasion, Warraich asked the people to drain out water from window, air coolers, tanks, barrels, drums, and buckets. As many as 50 million people become victims of the dengue fever in the world and according to the latest statistics illustrated by the UN, 20,000 die of dengue virus every year in the world,” he added.

He revealed that fear of spreading dengue fever was rising in Asia especially in Pakistan day by day. He said that according to the World Health Organisation, the main causes of spreading dengue fever were increasing temperatures, heavy rains in some areas, floods and rapidly growing population. He said that dengue is a specified virus and its infection spreads almost in those areas having hot climate and especially in urban areas.

Addressing the participants, MPA Ikram said that the people belonging to all segments of the society could play their pivotal role in promoting awareness against dengue and its hazards. He said that the PML-N government was striving to curb the menace.

While delivering his speech, the SCCI president pledged his full cooperation on curbing the menace of dengue. He also asked the local traders, industrialists and exporters to ensure early spray of anti-dengue pesticides in their shops and factories. Later, other health experts advised that the dengue patients should ensure maximum use of boiled water and use honey in normally hot water.

They added that the common use of fruits like orange, guava, apple and Kalwanji and black pepper could also help to prevent the dengue fever, especially in growing children.