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Spike in dengue cases in Colombo

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There is a one and half fold increase in the number of dengue cases in Colombo, when compared to last year, and a twofold increase in the number of cases, island-wide.

“There were 470 cases in Colombo by this time last year, and there have been 628 cases so far this year. We cannot be complacent about this,” Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni told The Nation.

Out of the 3,538 houses inspected by CMC on February 19 (Thursday) and the 3,028 houses inspected on February 20 (Friday), 10 percent were potential breeding places. This is an alarming situation, Dr. Wijayamuni said, explaining that the slightest rain could make these actual breeding places.

Construction sites have been found to be the most common potential breeding sites, and Dr. Wijayamuni explained that this was mostly because for concrete slabs to be strong, water is allowed to collect on them. Other common breeding sites include discarded receptacles, concrete rooftops and blocked drains. These may not always be potential breeding sites for mosquitoes that transmit dengue, but it still important to clean any potential breeding places, as one cannot easily distinguish between types of mosquitoes.

He added that the CMC has conducted an intensive three-day program, with the environment police, armed forces, public health sector and the health ministry. The programs were conducted within Colombo, but especially in high-risk areas like Modara, Mattakkuliya, Grandpass, Dematagoda, Narahenpita and Wellawatte.

 “There have been 10 to 15 suspected cases in Colombo,” Dr. Wijayamuni said, and CMC is controlling the dengue situation to a certain extent. “By taking measures like fogging and spraying, we are curtailing an outbreak of dengue,” Dr. WIjayamuni said, adding that short rains allow water to get collected, while heavy rains would washed away the larvae to waterways and they would have been taken care of.

“We need the help of people,” Dr. Wijayamuni said, adding that many expect the CMC to clean any potential breeding sites. However, he added that it is not in the CMC mandate, and CMC does not have the manpower to do so.

The Director of the National Hospital, Colombo Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that in December last year, 176 Dengue cases and 24 Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (critical) cases were reported in Colombo. He further added, “102 clinically diagnosed Dengue cases and 28 Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever cases were reported from Colombo within the month of January this year.”  He explained that last year, 15 deaths were reported from Colombo while this year so far, two deaths have been reported from Colombo.  Meanwhile the Director of the Epidemiological Unit, Dr. Paba Palihawadana spoke to The Nation yesterday (January 21) regarding the three-day program that was conducted to eradicate the Dengue menace in Colombo.

Dr. Palihawadana said, “The three-day program to eradicate the spread of Dengue commenced on Thursday (January 19). Each day we covered nearly 25, 000 houses while inspecting and clearing the mosquito breeding grounds in and around the city of Colombo. We also advised the residents to remove potential breeding places.”

Meanwhile, a discussion regarding the current situation regarding Dengue was held in Colombo yesterday with the participation of officers from the armed forces, police, doctors, Public Health Inspectors and medical specialists. The meeting was presided over by Director General of Health Services, Dr. Palitha Mahipala.

Last modified on Sunday, 22 February 2015 19:21
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