ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 26

Chikungunya spread by travellers, say health officials

Bambalapitiya, Wellawatte, Cinnamon Gardens and Narahenpita the most affected areas in the city

By Nadia Fazlulhaq

Health Ministry Epidemiology Unit head Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe is of the opinion that Chikungunya has been spread here by travellers from neighbouring countries which had this particular viral disease. “The most number of suspected patients was from the north and east of the country. India too had a severe spread of this disease this year after 30 years, so it is possible that some infected travellers came to Sri Lanka,” he said.

A medical officer at the Kalmunai Base Hospital said the number of patients with the viral fever was on the rise with around 30-40 admissions taking place daily. The blood samples sent to Thailand tested positive for Chikungunya viral fever, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

“The samples were sent to AFRIM Bangkok, the Hong Kong University and the National Institute for Virology in Pune, India. 60% of the blood samples we sent abroad tested positive for Chikungunya,” he said. The molecular medicine unit of Ragama Medical Faculty in Colombo North was the first to confirm the disease on November 17 through laboratory tests done by the unit.

Unit head Dr. Wimaladharma Abeywickrema said that even though the unit was under the Education Ministry it had close connections with the Health Ministry Epidemiology Unit. “We had laboratory tests done on a DNA based method from blood samples taken from suspected patients in Hambantota, Colombo, Kalmunai, Ampara and also from some private hospitals. We were able to confirm that it was Chikungunya viral infection after the first four days of fever,” he said.

Meanwhile Colombo Municipal Council Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said Chikungunya was spreading like wildfire in Colombo adding that people in Colombo do not have any immunity from Chikungunya. “Even it is not a dangerous viral fever like dengue, the joint pains may continue for weeks and it almost cripples a person for a few days.” he said. He said Bambalapitiya, Wellawatte, Cinnamon Gardens and Narahenpita were the most affected areas in the city.

Top to the page

Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.