Dengue Surveillance and Control Seminar Organized by Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination

October 22, 2015

 Islamabad: Dengue is acute febrile viral illness caused by any of the four distinct but closely related dengue virus (DENV) serotypes (called DENV‐1, 2, 3, and ‐4), is a mosquito‐borne viral disease that has rapidly spread globally during recent years. The Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti and, to a lesser extent, A. albopictus. It is a febrile illness and symptoms appearing 3-14 days after the infective bite. Clinical presentation can range from a mild nonspecific febrile syndrome, to classic dengue fever or break‐bone fever” or in the most severe forms like dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). In recent years Pakistan has experienced multiple Dengue outbreaks from different geographical areas since the first outbreak was detected in 1994. During last two decades two major outbreaks were reported from Pakistan; in 2005 over 6000 cases with 52 deaths were reported from Karachi, while during 2011, more than 21000 cases occurred in Lahore with 350 deaths. Between 2011‐2014 more than 48000 laboratory confirmed cases were reported from across the country. In the wake of recent surge in the Dengue Fever Cases from different parts of the country and specially due to increasing number of Dengue Fever cases in Rawalpindi since September 2015, a technical session on dengue surveillance and control was organized on 22 October 2015, by the Ministry of National Health services at the National Institute of Health Islamabad in collaboration with Pakistan Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme. Senior Advisor Dr. Robert Fontaine from US centers for Disease Control Atlanta was the key note speaker. The session was attended by public health professional, physicians and laboratory scientists representing the public sector and Pakistan Army from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Dr. Fontaine gave an overview of the Dengue epidemiology, vector characteristics and his observations regarding the ongoing surge in dengue cases in recent weeks. The lecture prompted a frank and detailed discussion on the various aspects of disease surveillance, detection and outbreak/epidemic control strategies with active participation by the attendees. Reduction of dengue virus transmission depends primarily on control of the mosquito vectors and interruption of human–vector contact. Countries such as Pakistan which are endemic for dengue must implement national preparedness plans that incorporate early warning systems, outbreak vector and environmental surveillance. Establishment of laboratory diagnostic support and established protocols for clinical case management are essential components of such preparedness. Programs for increasing community awareness together with social mobilization can serve as key elements towards the control efforts. National partnerships involving government bodies, research institutions and the private sector, as well as international collaborations can help strengthen national programs for dengue preparedness and response. The Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination is continuously monitoring the ongoing Dengue situation in the country and is coordinating with the federal and provincial health departments and institutions for the Dengue response and control initiatives.