A team of Sri Lankan doctors and paramedical staff have arrived in this eastern city to help authorities combat the deadly dengue outbreak in Pakistan’s Punjab province that has claimed five more lives.
Five persons infected with the virus died in Lahore yesterday.
According to the Punjab government,the death toll has now risen to 22 while the total number of dengue patients in Lahore alone has crossed 4,000.
The unofficial count,however,is more than 8,000.
The latest victims included a 14-year-old boy,a retired deputy superintendent of police and a woman.
Children’s Hospital Medical Director Ehsan Waheed Rathore said Ali Ahmad,14,died of ‘dengue shock syndrome’.
It was the first death of a minor boy owing to a severe form of dengue virus, he said.
Rathore said the boy’s heart and lungs stopped functioning due to pericardial and pleural effusions.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif welcomed the 12-member Lankan team of doctors and paramedical staff on its arrival at Lahore airport last evening.
The team have brought medicines and other items for combating the virus.
Sharif said he was thankful to Sri Lankan President for sending a team within days of his request for assistance.
He noted that a large number of people had been affected by dengue in Sri Lanka a few years ago.
The Sri Lankan government had constituted a special task force for curbing the virus and due to its efforts,dengue was eliminated from the country. The team of experts from Sri Lanka will help the Punjab government eliminate dengue, he said.
In a related development,Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry yesterday expressed displeasure over non-submission of reports by the Punjab Health Secretary and Lahore district administration chief on the government’s failure to control the spread of dengue fever and to provide free treatment to patients.
The Chief Justice remarked that every day people were losing their lives because of dengue and the government had not even bothered to furnish a report to the court.
He directed a provincial law officer to ensure the submission of detailed reports by September 16.
The court was acting on a petition filed by lawyer Noshab Khan,who questioned the provincial government’s failure to combat dengue and provide medical treatment to patients free of cost.
Khan said the authorities had miserably failed to come up with a sensible explanation for their inability to block the spread of dengue.