Geneva, Switzerland (BBN) – More than 12,000 cases of dengue fever and 125 deaths linked to the disease have been reported across Pakistan so far this year, with the majority occurring in Punjab province, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

WHO is supporting sub-groups that have been formed by Pakistani authorities to respond to the epidemic through case management, community mobilization, vector control and public awareness campaigns, the agency’s spokesperson, Tarek Jasarevic, told reporters in Geneva.

He said WHO has also been facilitating and supporting dengue case management training at the district level in several provinces. A WHO expert on the disease arrived in the country last week to provide technical guidance on dengue fever control.

A dengue fever booklet for teachers has been printed and is being circulated. WHO has also circulated new clinical case management guidelines drafted by Pakistani doctors on the basis of a retrospective study of Pakistani hospital data and global and regional experiences.

Last year, 11,024 confirmed cases of dengue fever and 40 deaths were reported in Pakistan, but this year the number of cases has climbed to 12,466.

Dengue is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with any one of four dengue viruses. Symptoms appear within three days to two weeks after a bite by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms can include fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and a rash.

BBN/SSR/AD-01Oct11-2:05 am (BST)