Dengue a bigger threat this year

By Nadia Fazlulhaq

Health officials warn the public that the fast-spreading dengue fever may claim more victims this year, with an increase recorded compared to other years.

By March 2009, thirteen confirmed deaths were reported while 2056 cases were reported islandwide. This is an increase compared to the 1600 cases by March 2008.

“The dengue mosquito is adapting to the environment better than previously and we believe that the strength of the virus has developed more in the areas where the population is naïve and has less immunity”, said Dr. Hasitha Tissera, consultant community physician of the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry.

The ministry has declared Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy, Matale, Kalutara, Trincomalee, Batticoloa, Kegalle, Kalmunai and Ratnapura as vulnerable districts.

“Four deaths were reported from the Colombo district. Three of them were from the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) limits. Out of the four deaths, three are reported to be children. One death was reported from Gampaha, one from Kandy, two from Kegalle, two from Kalmunai and two from Ratnapura. These are all confirmed deaths while there are unconfirmed deaths as well,” he said.

“The only way to prevent this disease is to eliminate as much as possible man-made containers which collect water. Do the observing at least once a week. Scattered showers are ideal conditions for the breeding of this mosquito as water stagnates in these containers,” Dr. Tissera said.

Meanwhile officials of the Kandy Municipal Council are attempting to use all possible methods to prevent breeding of mosquitoes. More than one hundred cases have been reported in the Kandy city limits with one death reported in the municipal area.

Two deaths have been reported in the Batticaloa district with more than 120 cases reported in the Aryiyampathy PS area.

A major outbreak of dengue has been reported in Trincomalee town and its suburbs with the detection of 28 positive dengue cases in Manaiyaveli, Orr’s Hill and Linganagar areas since January this year.

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