LAHORE - Speakers at a seminar has said that dengue fever is not a fatal disease if treated timely and the mortality rate among patients of dengue fever has been less than one per cent as compared to malaria and tuberculosis in which it is 10 per cent. They said that the principal symptoms of dengue are high fever, severe headache, muscle and joint pains - severe pain gives it the name of break-bone fever, and rash. The dengue rash is characteristically bright red and usually appears first on the lower limbs and the chest. There may also be gastritis with some combination of associated abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea. The seminar on dengue fever was held at the University of Health Sciences here on Thursday. Addressing the seminar, Punjab Health Services Director General Dr Aslam Chaudhry said, "The sooner an affected person consults a physician the better chances of his or her recovery are." He said that 181 cases of dengue fever had been reported so far in Punjab, 147 in Lahore alone. He informed that in Lahore, most of the dengue cases had been reported from Kot Khwaja Saeed, Misri Shah, Shadbagh, Ghoray Shah, Chah Mirah, Badami Bagh, Shahdara, Sheranwala Gate, localities along Bund Road, Gulshan-e-Ravi and Multan Road. He said that people who suspect they have dengue fever should use peracetamol but avoid those containing aspirin. They should also take rest, drink plenty of fluids and consult a physician. UHS VC Prof Malik Hussain Mubbashar told that first case of dengue fever was reported in the United States in 1780. A global pandemic began in the Southeast Asia in the 1950s and by 1975 dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) had become a leading cause of death among many children in many countries in that region. He further said that by the late 1990s, dengue was the most important mosquito-borne disease affecting humans after malaria, bring several hundred thousand cases each year. Prof Mubbashar further said that government had taken effective measures to tackle this menace and that media should also play its role in bringing awareness among the general public. Health Services Director Dr Ziaur Rahman said undetected or not-properly-treated dengue might aggravate and become the dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) that could be fatal. But with good medical management, the mortality rate could be reduced to less than 1 per cent, he added. The DHF could be characterised by a fever that lasted from two to seven days, with general signs and symptoms that could occur with many other illnesses like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and headache. The best preventive measure for residents living in area infested with the mosquito, aedes aegypti, is to eliminate the places where it could lay eggs, primarily artificial water containers. Plastic water container, buckets, used automobile tyres, pet and animal watering containers and vases with fresh flowers, indoor plants could be the best breeding places for aedes aegypti, warned Dr Rahman. The risk is minimised with the decrease in temperature, he said and added the need of the hour was to educate the people and not to scare them.