HARIPUR: The dreaded chikungunya virus has claimed the lives of two siblings in the span of a week, spreading fear of an epidemic in Haripur city.
The virus had so far mostly been reported in the coastal belt of the country; however, recently some infected people travelling from Karachi and brought the virus with them to the hilly areas.
Recently, three busloads of people came to attend a wedding in the Abbasia Mohalla. Some of the guests were carrying, apart from their luggage, the chikungunya virus, said Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital in-charge Dr Faisal Khan, while sharing details of his investigations.
“Until recently, there were no cases of chikungunya in Haripur. However, some people coming from Karachi to attend a wedding have spread the virus,” he claimed.
As a result, two children of Nazeer Abbasi were infected by the virus and subsequently died, he said.
The family of the deceased children was devastated, while the community was grip by panic that the virus may spread.
Over the last fortnight, a large number of people, mostly elderly and children have been brought to district and tehsil hospitals while displaying symptoms of chikungunya, doctors confirmed.
Officials stated that almost 70 per cent population of the Khoi Meera Village of Khanpur had been affected by the virus while there were widespread complaints of people suffering from high temperatures and severe body pain and headaches.
Doctors THQ Hospital were trying to convince the people, in vain, that the life span of the virus was between five to seven days and the only medication was complete bed rest, consuming lots of fresh juices and adopting a healthy diet with painkillers.
There is no commercial chikungunya vaccine, health officials said. However, residents of Khoi Meera Village and Abbasi Mohalla were running from one hospital to another seeking relief.
Meanwhile, Haripur’s District Health Officer Dr Mushtaq Khan Tanoli said the doctors and paramedics were trying to convince the people that the virus was not fatal.
“We have also distributed as much mosquito repellent as we could from our own resources,” the top doctor of Haripur said, adding that the town administration too has handed out some mosquito nets while urging the public to use them.
“We have dispatched medical teams to investigate the intensity of the chikungunya outbreak in the areas surrounding Haripur. They will collect blood samples and also inform the people about the symptoms and prevention of the disease,” Dr Tanoli said.
He said that the civil administration has been urged to carry out anti-mosquito spray and try to drain out stagnant water to avoid spawning.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2017.