Lahore: 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
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
Khan said the authorities had "miserably failed to come up
with a sensible explanation" for their inability to block the
spread of dengue.