Dengue cases on the rise

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In addition to the present economic crisis, the public will face an added burden of a dengue epidemic if action is not taken to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds immediately, Director, National Dengue Control Unit (NDCU), Dr. Sudath Samaraweera warned.

Speaking to the Media at the Government Information Department (GID), Dr. Samaraweera yesterday (9) said from the beginning of this year to date the country had reported a total of 26,622 dengue cases and 25 dengue deaths have been recorded during this period. Eight of those who succumbed to the viral infection were aged five to 20 years. This is 32 per cent of the dengue death toll comprising children of school-going age.

In addition, 12 persons who died of dengue complications were aged 20 to 55 years. They belong to the country’s workforce. Explaining further, Dr. Samaraweera said the total number of dengue cases last month (May) had amounted to 6,483, while this month from 1 June to date, 2,416 dengue cases have been diagnosed. He urged the public to prevent dengue from reaching epidemic proportions, as it did in 2017 and 2018.

Consultant Epidemiologist, Dr. Buddhika Mahesh said the Western Province was highly vulnerable to the spread of dengue, owing to its population density (over 1,700 per one square kilometre). He urged the public to assist the NDCU by eliminating mosquito breeding sites in schools, religious places, abandoned lands, and construction sites.

A Consultant Physician at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, urged the public to seek timely medical attention if they develop a fever which lasts for over 24 hours. He said a dengue antigen test is not 100% accurate. Even if the antigen test is negative, the patient will require a Full Blood Count (FBC) to establish whether he or she has contracted the virus.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne