Dengue Outbreak Response and Control in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan: A Mixed Methods Study

J Epidemiol Glob Health. 2020 Mar;10(1):74-81. doi: 10.2991/jegh.k.191125.001.


Background: Since 2008, dengue fever outbreaks had occurred repeatedly in various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan. Most importantly the outbreak of 2017 caused 70 deaths, about 121,083 suspected and 24,938 confirmed cases in 23 districts of KP. In 2018, an abrupt decline in suspected and confirmed dengue cases was observed and 2018 was declared as dengue outbreak free. This study characterizes and explores the control and response measure activities of the outbreak. In addition, we explored the challenges faced and lessons learned for control of future dengue outbreaks from the perspectives of health authorities and dengue response staff in the KP province of Pakistan.

Methods: This was a mixed methods study with quantitative data on dengue outbreaks obtained from health department in KP followed by qualitative study to explore activities and responses that enabled the Dengue Response Unit (DRU) for a successful dengue outbreak control in 2018. In-depth interviews were conducted with the key informants from the department of health and the dengue response unit.

Results: The quantitative data analysis revealed a huge decline of suspected and confirmed dengue cases in comparison with the previous year in most of the KP districts. A similar decline in dengue reported cases was also observed from previously high dengue burden 14 union counsels of Peshawar district. Among the 70 verified deaths in 2017, 44 (63%) were males and 26 (37%) were females. The cases were about 20% each from age groups of 21-30, 41-50, and 51-60 years. The qualitative study findings showed four prominent major themes for successful control: (1) control and response strategy; (2) organizing specific dengue control and response intervention activities; (3) addressing dengue control and response challenges; and (4) generating lesson for future dengue control and response.

Keywords: Dengue fever; Pakistan; dengue control strategies; dengue mortality and morbidity in KP; dengue outbreaks in KP; mixed method study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dengue / diagnosis*
  • Dengue / epidemiology*
  • Dengue / therapy*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Preventive Health Services*
  • Young Adult