Pakistan safe haven for Chikungunya virus
Karachi: The recent full-scale outbreaks of chikungunya arbovirus infection in Pakistan suggests the country has become a safe haven for chikungunya virus, while Sindh tops the list as the most affected province with chikungunya virus, according to the findings of an international study.
Published in the latest edition of ‘Infection, Disease and Health,’ an international science journal, the research has found that the constant spread of chikungunya represents a serious new challenge to the nation’s public health both in the short and long term.
In the face of an already undermined healthcare system in Pakistan, the great burden of morbidity among the workforce caused by the outbreaks is another blow to the country’s shrinking economy, according to the international study. In this retrospective study of successive epidemics that started in 2016-17 to mid-2018, thousands of clinical cases were reported that led to a significant number of fatalities in various cities right across the country.
The study recommended that to curb the threat of chikungunya-related febrile illness in Pakistan, there is a dire need for a consolidated programme of improved vector control, accurate infection diagnosis, dedicated disease surveillance and well-managed border enforcement measures to be implemented as a public health priority.