ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 42

Mosquito menace may bring on deadly diseases

By Nadia Fazlulhaq

With the inter-monsoon rains beginning, the mosquito menace may increase and therefore immediate action would have to be taken to control the threat of dengue and chikungunya before they affect the people, health officials said.

“Waste disposal is the foremost in the urban areas of the Central Province, especially in Kandy and Matale. There are no large land plots to dump the garbage. We encourage residents in these areas to dump the garbage in a pit, in their own gardens” said Central Province Provincial Director of Health Shanthi Samarasinghe.

Mrs. Samarasinghe said that in rural areas in the Central Province water in wells is at a low level.

“There are times water could be drawn only once in three days, so people tend to build water tanks. There is nothing wrong in building these water tanks, but people must be advised to clean the walls of the tanks and cover the tanks with a fitting lid”, she said.

In Nuwara Eliya, the mosquito menace is at a low level due to the cool climate there. Ratnapura Medical Officer Dr. Hilanthi Seneviratne said areas like the Ratnapura town, Eheliyagoda, Balangoda and Kuruwita are prone to mosquito breeding.

“Garbage disposal is the major problem in the urban areas of the Sabaragamuwa province. We fume all the areas where mosquito breeding takes place as a temporary solution. We also take samples from suspected areas for further testing”, she said.

Southern Province Health Ministry Secretary Buddhapriya Nigamuni said common awareness programmes were being held in the province encouraging proper waste disposal systems. The aim of the health officials was that every household use its own backyard to dispose of garbage appropriately.

“For the past two months mosquito breeding decreased due to the warm weather but when the rainy season begins, there is a high risk of dengue and chikungunya spreading. People are worried at the rise of chikungunya. We have not received any reports on chikungunya but with the increase of dengue there is a higher risk of chikungunya too”, said Colombo Municipal Council Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam.

According to Dr. Kariyawasam the spread of chikungunya and dengue was great in houses with large gardens and ponds where there is a bigger risk of mosquitoes breeding while areas where houses were built very closely with no gardens are less prone to mosquito breeding.

The CMC is hoping to have a house-to-house campaign in several high risk areas on March 31. Around 1000 volunteers would be visiting these areas, advising on prevention methods and taking action against house owners who create an environment for mosquito breeding.

“We will continue awareness campaigns after March, by which time the monsoon would be on and many people will be taking basic prevention methods” he said.

According to Dr. Kariyawasam, Kollupitiya, Bambalapitiya, Wellawatte, Pamankada, Havelock Town, Kirulapone, Thimbirigasyaya, Narahenpita, Borella, Kuppiyawatte, Cinnamon Gardens and Kotahena are the areas found to be high risk areas in Colombo City.
Several private sector blue-chip companies will be funding awareness programmes and campaigns organized by the CMC.

The second week of May will be the National Dengue Week and the CMC is hoping to get not only schools, but also Government departments and private sector offices to keep their environment clean.

“Competitions for students, housing complexes residents and public servants will be held while the star system for houses will be introduced once again in Colombo” said Dr. Kariyawasam.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.