claims of drastic reduction
Dengue is soaring,
says CMC official
By Carol Aloysius
Health personnel Saturday, dismissed Health
Ministry’s claims of a drastic reduction (by 50%) of
dengue up to July this year compared to last year,
as reported by a leading state newspaper, Friday.
“It is misleading and far from the truth”, CMC
Medical Chief Officer of Health, Dr Pradeep
Kariyawasam told The Nation, “The dengue is soaring.
It will probably overtake the previous year. You
can’t go by figures in the first half of the year,
as Dengue usually increases in the second half of
the year when weather conditions become more
conducive to the mosquito vector to lay its eggs as
the rains begin in earnest. This is already evident
by the fact that the number of cases in July has
increased over June by nearly 235”.
His views were endorsed by doctors treating dengue
patients in state and private hospitals in Colombo.
“We are unable to cope with the large numbers
brought to us daily. Because of overcrowding many
patients share beds and even ICU patients are being
treated outside the units”, a doctor at the Lady
Ridgeway Hospital for Children said.
Meanwhile the Health Ministry, despite its claims of
a reduction in the epidemic, is getting ready for an
emergency situation. “We are continuing to train all
dengue specialists by the Thai experts we have
specially invited there for this purpose. We are
also upgrading 72 state hospitals with High
Dependency Units to provide ICU care for dengue
patients,” a health spokesman told The Nation.
Epidemiology Unit’s latest figures up to July 29,
shows the number of dengue cases has now reached
14,000 – up by 13,100 cases from the beginning of
the year. Colombo district leads other districts
with 5,455 cases and 51 deaths. Colombo Municipal
area reported 1950 cases and 20 deaths and other
areas 2511 with 32 deaths bringing the total to 5460
cases and 32 deaths by July end. The large urban
population, congested housing and unsatisfactory
solid waste removal in certain parts of the city
where construction work has resulted in piles of
rubble collecting amidst garbage mounds provide
ideal breeding sites for the dengue vector,
Municipal sources told The Nation.
Other areas with large number of cases include:
Gampaha (2,031cases with 16 deaths), Kalutara (767
cases, 6 deaths), Batticaloa (651 cases, 9 deaths)
Kurunegala (528 cases, 4 deaths ,) Ratnapura (551
cases 3 deaths), Kandy, (461 cases, 2 deaths), Galle
(453 cases, 1 death), Puttlam (322 cases, 6 deaths),
Kegalle (389 cases, 2 deaths).
Health officials appealed to parents not to take
their sick children to witch doctors and Ayurveda
physicians but immediately take the child to a
qualified Western treatment doctor or the hospital,
before they developed Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever
which was difficult to cure.