Dengue haunts Karachi nightlife



KARACHI:

A variety of reasons, including poor hygiene and the lack of routine fumigant sprays, have led to an increase in dengue cases across Karachi city. The virus, transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, can be transmitted both at night and during the day, which is why experts advise citizens to completely cover themselves indoors and outdoors and protect the vector with nets and pesticides in the bay.

However, after nearly two years under Covid-19, it was difficult to keep citizens indoors after the restrictions were lifted. especially after dark when the metropolis is historically known to come alive. As soon as the sun goes down, people of all ages flock to the open-air restaurants and roadside chai-dhaabas scattered across town, where loud colloquiums and clouds of cigarette smoke fill the air until the wee hours of the morning.

Yet as lively as Karachi’s nightlife appears, the lack of anti-dengue prep in many of these dhabas and food streets has allowed a busy predator to trace the exact street corners where the boroughs live. Experts believe that if such situations persist and caution is thrown to the wind, the city could face a dengue epidemic after barely surviving the chaos that erupted during the four waves of pandemics.

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“If you look at the food streets of Karachi including Burnes Road, Kharadar, Hussainabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Super Highway, Liaquatabad and others, you will find that they are full of open air restaurants, hotels and BBQ areas. none of them bothered to take preventive measures against dengue, ”claimed Imranul Haq, a volunteer at a charity working to prevent epidemics in the city. “When people eat at these hotels or restaurants with family or friends at night, there is always a cloud of mosquitos buzzing over their heads while no coils or sprays are used to protect customers. While in many of these places, especially roadside teahouses, dishes are also washed in open water tubs, which can quickly become breeding grounds for the dengue-causing mosquitoes, ”he added.

In this regard, Haji Jamal Khan, who owns a tea house in the Nishtar Road area, confirmed that most dhabaas do not smoke out their premises or burn repellent coils due to the cost of the practice. “How many mosquito repellent coils are we going to use every day?” He asked. “That is an additional effort. The only thing we can afford is not to store water in open pots and tubs, ”he added.

According to Muhammad Asif, the secretary of a local mosque, the sewers in Karachi are in dire straits. In various areas near mosques and madrasas, the alleys collect channel water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “We routinely fumigate our premises, but if the plumbing and sewage systems are not improved, dengue fever will be difficult to control. We therefore ask the faithful to use less water during the ablutions so that no water accumulates in the washrooms and at least our mosques do not become dengue hotbeds, ”he said.

In this regard, the Secretary General of the Pakistan Medical Association, Prof. Dr. “The public is advised to remain fully clothed, especially during sunrise and sunset, and to use repellent creams on exposed skin. While the government should be running a spray campaign to stop the spread of mosquitoes in Karachi and raise awareness so that they can stay safe from dengue, ”he told The Express Tribune.

Posted in The Express Tribune, November 6, 2021.

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