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News  


 

Despite ministry 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.