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Health experts for adopting chikungunya preventive measures

Health experts on Friday urged for formulating chikungunya management plans, providing technical support to hospitals and creating awareness in public to prevent the disease.

According to them, departments concerned should improve their reporting systems, providing training on clinical management and diagnosis and vector control strategies.

They said that it was high time to develop and maintain the capacity to detect and confirm cases, manage patients and implement social communication strategies to reduce the presence of the mosquito vectors.

Dr Wasim Khawaja from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said that chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. He added that disease causes fever and severe joint pain while other symptoms included muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash.

He said the joint pain was often debilitating and could vary in duration. The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common, he added.

The joint pain is very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks, he said.

Dr Wasim Khawaja said that after the bite of an infected mosquito, onset of illness occurs usually between four and eight days but can range from two to 12 days.

He said most of the patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years. Occasional cases of eye, neurological and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints.

He said that serious complications are not common, but in older people, the disease can reach to serious level of disease. Often symptoms in infected individuals are mild and the infection may go unrecognised, or be misdiagnosed in areas where similar diseases occur.

He said that prevention and control relies heavily on reducing the number of natural and artificial water-filled container habitats that support breeding of the mosquitoes.

Dr Sharif Astori from Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC) said that basic precautions should be taken by people travelling to risk areas and these included use of repellents, wearing long sleeves and pants and ensuring rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering.

He said for those who sleep during the daytime, particularly young children, or sick or older people, insecticide-treated mosquito nets afford good protection. Mosquito coils or other insecticide vaporisers may also reduce indoor biting, he added.

He advised to use clothing which minimises skin exposure to the day-biting vectors for protection during outbreaks of chikungunya and repellents can be applied to exposed skin.

Source: Daily Times

Byline: APP

December 24, 2016

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