WHO team arrives in Karachi to help prevent Chikungunya

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KARACHI: A nine-member delegation of the World Health Organisation reached Karachi Tuesday to help health authorities prevent the Chikungunya disease from spreading in the metropolis.

As many as 250 people have been tested positive for the Chikungunya virus in the city so far, prompting concerns among the authorities to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to officials of the health department, the WHO delegation was briefed on the disease, at the department’s office in Civic Centre.

The WHO officials will stay in Karachi for three days, during which they will visit the government hospitals and affected areas such as Orangi and Malir. The delegation will then issue a health advisory to help local authorities prevent Chikungunya from spreading further.

The delegation includes environment experts among other officials, who were briefed by health officers of east, south and west districts of the city.

A request will also be made to health authorities to establish a laboratory in the city, as there is none in the entire province. This is why samples of suspected patients have to be sent to National Institute of Health, Islamabad.

As per the health department, from December 16, 2016 till date 250 people have been tested positive for the disease, whereas hundreds of suspected patients are brought to hospitals on a daily basis.

A factsheet of WHO states Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The disease is said to share some clinical signs with dengue and can be misdiagnosed in areas where the latter is common.

Meanwhile, Dengue and Malaria control programs officials are also came to brief the mission about the program and ongoing scheme to eradicate dengue and malaria vectors in the areas.

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