Dengue cases, deaths, leap to new high at year end | Sunday Observer

Dengue cases, deaths, leap to new high at year end

The Government Epidemiology Unit has reported a sharp rise in suspected dengue cases in at least eight districts island-wide during December, with the total number of cases from the beginning of the year exceeding the 50,519 mark as of December 29, a two-fold increase compared to the 29,777 cases reported in 2015.

Districts affected most remained the same with the highest in the year reported from the Western province (49.46), with Colombo district taking the lead with 1,031 cases in December, Gampaha 199 in December, Kalutara and Kandy recording 189 and 139 respectively in December, Galle 297, Jaffna 200, Kalmunai 115 and Ratnapura 147.

The Colombo Municipal Council area had the most number of suspected cases, 283 in December, while other areas of Colombo reported a total of 748 patients visiting their Outpatients Department in December. The number of reported cases last year in the same month were: Colombo 1,321, Gampaha 496, Kalutara 202, Kandy 170, Galle 128, Jaffna 437, Kurunegala 160 and Kalmunai 53, bringing the total of suspected cases to 3,688.

It has been reported that 83 people had died of dengue last year - 22 from Colombo, 12 from Gampaha, five from Galle and one from Kalmunai. Compared to the high number of suspected cases, the number of deaths was lower this year dropping to 0.16, Director, National Dengue Control Unit, Dr. Hasitha Tissera reportedly said at a media discussion held at the Epidemiology Unit on Thursday.

Addressing the media, Director General Health Services, Dr. P.G. Mahipala was quoted as announcing that the amended Prevention of Mosquito Breeding Act to strengthen the legal framework to combat dengue had been submitted to the Cabinet and would soon be introduced after it is finalised at the Legal Draftsman’s Department.

He also announced the expansion of the online reporting system in all the regional offices of the Ministry of Health. Through this system, reports of identified dengue patients island-wide could be sent to all the regional offices in the shortest possible time.

“This quick data gathering is very important to fight the dengue menace,” a senior health official told the Sunday Observer.

Dengue Control Unit officers appealed to the public to help control its spread by keeping their premises free of small plastic containers and water collecting receptacles which attract the dengue carrying aedes egypti mosquitos.

A recent survey of high risk areas revealed that construction sites, schools and public venues contained the most number of breeding sites for the mosquitoes. The on going program to eliminate these sites with the help of the Forces, the Ministry of Health and volunteers will continue with fogging, cleaning, awareness raising and education programs for selected target populations throughout this year as well, Dengue Unit sources said.