Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dengue outbreak: Patients outnumber beds at Lahore hospitals

Dengue outbreak: Patients outnumber beds at Lahore hospitals

Published: September 17, 2011

Patients at the dengue ward of Lahore’s Mayo Hospital. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: A total of 627 fresh cases of dengue were reported in Punjab during last 24 hours, out of which 607 were from Lahore alone, where hospitals continue to struggle with a deluge of patients and a shortage of adequate facilities.

According to a Health Department report, so far, 5,734 cases of dengue have been reported in Punjab, of which 5,315 are from Lahore alone. Two deaths were reported in Lahore on Friday as a result of the virus, taking the death toll to 30 in Punjab.

Furthermore, The Express Tribune has learnt there are only three platelet separators functional in Lahore – a significant scarcity, putting patients whose platelet counts fall below dangerous levels at risk.

Two mega platelet separators are functioning in the Blood Transfusion Authority (BTA) at the Mental Hospital, and another at the General Hospital.

“We are working 24 hours and are trying to accommodate as many patients as possible,” said a doctor at the BTA.

“Not all dengue patients need to be injected platelets. This is what patients need to understand. Only those patients whose platelet count falls below a certain level need them,” he added.

The total number of deaths due to dengue has reached 30 in Punjab – 26 in Lahore alone. The health department, however, is yet to confirm more than 10 deaths.

Chief minister’s directive

Separately, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that bureaucratic formalities should not be allowed to impede the process of exterminating dengue virus. He added that required machinery and other material available anywhere should be airlifted for the provision of better medical facilities to the victims.

205 cases in Faisalabad

The number of dengue cases has increased to 265 in Faisalabad with the report of 205 new cases on Friday. According to EDO Health Dr Abdul Rauf, the epidemic is spreading in Faisalabad at an alarming rate.

125 in K-P, 235 in Sindh

Meanwhile, 125 suspected cases have been reported, of which 48 were confirmed, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, according to a K-P health department report. Five people have so far died from dengue fever including three in Haripur and one each in Mansehra and Nowshera districts.

In Karachi, 18 new dengue cases were reported on Friday raising the number of confirmed dengue patients in Sindh to 235. In-charge of Sindh Health Department’s Dengue Surveillance Cell Dr Shakeel Mullick said that currently 46 dengue patients have been admitted in different hospitals of the province. He added that so far three dengue patients have died in the province due to the virus.

(With additional reporting by Shamsul Islam in Faisalabad and additional input by wire agencies)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2011.

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