Peshawar: A health emergency has been declared in Pakistan's north-western Swat Valley after 18 people died of dengue and more than 5,000 cases were reported in a month.
According to official counts, the mosquito-borne virus has killed 18 people in the valley since August 19. As on September 19, 119 more people were found positive for the disease, Mohammad Wasil, a doctor at Saidu Sharif Hospital, told reporters.
The condition of 32 patients is stated to be critical and they are admitted in the ICU. The total number of affected patients has risen to 5,300.
The health authorities in Swat district of Khyber- Pakthunkhwa province have declared an emergency to cope with the situation in an effective manner.
Wasil said that so far 2,772 patients have been admitted in Saidu Sharif hospital and 2,370 were discharged after treatment.
At the moment, 304 patients are admitted in the hospital, including 12 children and 93 women.
The health authorities in the district have also sought cooperation and assistance of political figures and Ulema to stop the spread of the disease.
The local population and members of the civil society have criticised the district administration and the provincial government for not taking cogent measures to control the disease.
Dengue is spread by mosquitoes that breed in stagnant water and usually bite people during the daytime.
It causes high fever, severe joint and muscle pains and can be fatal.