Dengue virus, Urbanization And Climate Changes
By Sumaiya Qamar
Dengue Virus is one of the deadly vector-borne viruses that causes up to 100 million death cases worldwide. This alarming figure imposes a serious threat to the economy of low and middle-income countries like Pakistan. It is caused by the bite of the female mosquito Adese Aegypti and its transmission is multifactorial. The breeding of the mosquito larva is enhanced by high temperature and increased population.
The high temperature in Pakistan provides a nutritious rich media for the spread and increased progeny of the virus. The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination of Pakistan reported 998 new cases of dengue fever between 25 November – 1 December of 2019. This dramatic mortality rate clearly indicated that the dengue virus spread and reached to the climax within a specific time frame. These seasonal changes with intermediate hot and humid conditions enhance the growth and breeding of the mosquito larva. A temperature above 170C is the most suitable mosquito breeding time.
Similarly, another factor that enhances the transmission and spread of this endemic virus, which reaches over more than 100 countries, is urbanization. Pakistan is among the sixth most populated country worldwide. According to the Bureau of Statistics (BOS) the total population of Pakistan in the year 2017 was 207.774 million as compared to 132.352 million in 1998. This sudden escalation in the population is also a noticeable factor in the transmission of the dengue virus. According to WHO (World Health Organization), the number of confirmed cases in 2017 was 350467 with the incidence of malaria over 1000 people is 4.75%. These facts were not the same as in 2010 where the confirmed cases were 240591. This upsurge in the dengue confirmed cases in Pakistan is an alarming issue not only for the government but also for the policymakers and general public.
Although there is no antiviral drug available yet Sanofi’s company conquered to made dengue vaccine name Dengvaxia but unfortunately, it is only available internationally and not be in the hands of Pakistan yet.
Likewise, there is no cure for this fatal and lethal virus we should go for some preventive measures. This burning issue needs the attention of researchers and policymakers. There is still a large loophole that needs to be filled. The vast investigation related to the genotype and serotype of the mosquito, larva indices calculation, and the reason behind the spread of this pernicious virus should be done on large scale. Public awareness programs should be conducted in collaboration with public and private companies. ln summing up we should shake hands tightly to get rid of this mortal virus and make our country healthy and prosper.