CHITRAL: More than 40 students of government middle school for girls Harchin in Upper Chitral have been infected by chickenpox while people fear increase in the number of patients as the school is still open.
The chairman of local community-based organisation, Suharwardi Khan, said the headmistress of the school Ms Wajida was among the infected people, who developed the symptoms of itchy rash, fever, black spots on face and other parts of the body and general malaise.
He said some days ago, a student at a private hostel in Chitral city contracted the disease and transmitted it to her younger sister when she came to the village. Her younger sister infected her fellow students in the school, he added.
Mr Khan said the infected students belonged to the age-bracket of 12 to 14 years studying in 6th to 8th grade as the portion of the middle classes was situated in a separate building.
He said that education department did not close the school while parents were afraid to send their daughters to the institution.
A medical practitioner said that the infected children as well their teachers needed to be kept in isolation for a week or more till the spots crusted over.
Requesting not to be named, he said that chickenpox was highly infectious disease, which took one to two days before the rashes appeared. “No children or teacher will escape it if the school remains open even for a day,” he added.
The doctor said that active patients as well as patients showing initial symptoms needed to be quarantined in their homes.
He added that the family members of the affected people needed extraordinary precautions to effectively contain the outbreak.
Deputy Commissioner Khalid Zaman told Dawn that a medical team was dispatched to the school that provided medicines to the infected students and the situation was under control.
He said that awareness sessions for locals and other schools in the area about the outbreak of chickenpox were being held by the officials of district administration with the help of health department.
He said that after taking advisory from health department, he would send the case to provincial government to close the schools in the area for a week or 10 days.