December 9, 2022

Doctors advised to avoid prescribing antibiotics to dengue fever patients – Pakistan

KARACHI: Expressing concern over the high number of reported dengue fever and malaria cases in Karachi and the rest of the province, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has called on the government to make mosquito spraying campaigns more effective underway and draining stagnant water/wastewater from flood affected areas as well as Karachi.

The PMA has issued guidelines for the prevention of dengue fever as well as the management of the viral disease, which has already gripped the city as hundreds and thousands of patients present daily to public and private hospitals as well as to general practitioners.

“There is no vaccine or specific treatment for dengue and the only prevention is to eliminate mosquitoes. It will also help prevent other mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, currently prevalent in flood-affected areas, chikungunya infection and Zika fever,” the association said.

According to the PMA guidelines on the management of dengue, symptoms of the disease begin three to four days after infection and may include high fever, headache, vomiting and pain in muscles, joints , eyes and bones.

It can also be associated with rashes. In the worst conditions, there could be bleeding from the gums, nose, mouth, ears and other parts of the body.

“Take all preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites using sprays, mosquito nets, mosquito repellent mats, repellent solutions, etc. Cover water tanks and clean up standing water in or around the house. School management should allow students to wear trousers and full shirts and have their school premises mosquito sprayed,” the PMA said.

He added: “In case of high fever, do not take any antibiotic medicine, antimalarial tablets or aspirin. Always take advice from qualified doctors. Drink plenty of water, eat fresh home-cooked food, sleep soundly, which will help to improve body immunity.

For doctors, the association advised to treat patients with caution and to avoid prescribing antibiotics or antimalarial drugs in case of dengue fever.

“We have seen cases in which there was a sudden drop in the number of platelets. Therefore, it would be preferable for the patient to get their CBC [complete blood count] test performed within 24 hours of onset of signs and symptoms. If this report shows a low platelet count, then a dengue test should be taken,” said Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro from the PMA.

He urged doctors to focus on oral rehydration and provide symptomatic treatment for dengue fever patients.

Posted in Dawn, September 12, 2022