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Pakistan Officials Ask For International Assistance As Dengue Fever Outbreak Overwhelms Local Resources

BBC News reports on a continuing outbreak of dengue fever in Pakistan’s Punjab province, where “more than 8,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported … so far — 7,000 in Lahore alone — and the count continues to rise,” according to the Punjab health department. According to the news service, “Doctors say more than 30 people have died of the fever so far” in the province, and “[h]ealth officials estimate that more than 7,000 people are being tested daily for the virus — 300 to 400 test positive each day” (Haq, 9/23).

“As local medics struggle with the swelling number of dengue patients … [t]he Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has actively been seeking assistance from abroad and has approached countries that have faced the disease before in order to learn and replicate their methods in fighting the virus,” the Express Tribune reports, adding that the WHO “will send a dengue fever expert team, which is due to arrive in Islamabad on Sunday,” to suggest vector control measures (9/25). SciDev.Net reports that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to “sign an agreement next month (30 October) to allow Sri Lankan scientists to train Pakistanis in dengue diagnostics, Javed Akram, chief executive, Government Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, told” the news service (Shaikh, 9/23).