Hundreds affected by viral fever epidemic

By Nadia Fazlulhaq

Hospitals are full of patients, both young and old, suffering from viral fever with symptoms similar to dengue.

Officials said they were treating more than 150 fever patients a day in all major hospitals including the National Hospital and the Colombo South Teaching Hospital.

Infectious Diseases Hospital’s Consultant Physician Dr. Ananda Wijewickrema said the viral fever epidemic was not life-threatening but could weaken the patient.

“Most of the patients are suffering from vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. Therefore it’s important to give them nutritious fluids like king-coconut water, soups and cunjee but carbonated drinks should be avoided,” he said.

According to Dr. Wijewickrema, the viral fever normally lasts four to five days and patients suffer headaches, body aches and joint pains. “It is difficult to differentiate viral fever from dengue. Even the blood tests show similar results. Only paracetamol is recommended when a patient is being treated at home but if fever, severe vomiting and diarrhoea or pain in the stomach persists it’s important to seek treatment from a qualified medical professional,” he said.

It is believed the fever is transmitted from humans to humans through airborne particles that contain the virus, touching contaminated surfaces and sharing food and utensils with an infected person and also through contaminated food and water.

Dr. Roshan Marambahewa, a medical officer attached to the paediatric ward of the IDH, said there had been an increase in the number of children being admitted to the hospital. “Most children are suffering from fever and dehydration resulting in severe vomiting, loss of appetite and not passing urine,” he said.

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