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Pakistan: Dengue outbreak in Peshawar

In the city of  Peshawar in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan a dengue outbreak is ravishing the city.

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Since mid July, about 55,000 cases, including 50 deaths have been reported in the city, the most in the country since the 2011 outbreak in Lahore that sickened more than 200,000 following the 2010 floods.

About 11,000 cases have been laboratory confirmed in the outbreak and the dengue strain has been identified as Dengue serotype-2 (DEN-2).

A WHO field mission was conducted to assess the situation specially the risk of further spread. It appeared that the outbreak was detected late and as a result, the response was also delayed resulting in rapid spread of dengue fever cases in the capital city owing to population movement and mobility in the capital city.

Officials say there is an urgent need to scale up the ongoing response measures to prevent geographic spread of cases.

Surveillance needs to be strengthened in all the districts of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as in the neighboring provincial districts using a standard epidemiological case definition. Surveillance data should be used to monitor the progression of the outbreak as owing to limitations of surveillance system, the size and nature of this outbreak is yet to be determined or could not be determined.

At the same time, surveillance data should be used to map out cases and mount targeted interventions for vector control. Entomological surveillance also needs to be scaled up in both the affected areas as well as in the adjoining areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to guide interventions as well as to early detect any sign of outbreak spread.

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