Medi-snippets: Total suspected dengue cases reaching 65,000 mark | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Total suspected dengue cases reaching 65,000 mark

3 November, 2019

Rising dengue cases reported islandwide has prompted the Health Ministry to implement emergency measures in several high risk areas, Epidemiology Unit sources told the Sunday Observer. They said a special dengue control program had already been started in ten districts from October 31 ending November 6 . They are, Colombo, Kalutara , Gampaha, Kandy, Galle, Matara , Puttalam, Ratnapura , Kegalle and Jaffna. “The program will be implemented in two phases between October 31 and November 6 and both, the Health Ministry and the National Dengue Control Unit urge the public to support them in halting the rising dengue cases by allocating at least half an hour every week to eliminate mosquito breeding sites,” the sources said.

They said the mosquito menace was endemic in the country and warned that unless the public remained vigilant and regularly destroyed mosquito breeding sites to prevent dengue carrying mosquitoes from leaving their larvae to hatch, especially, during this rainy season, there could easily be an outbreak.

The Epidemiology Unit officials told the newspaper that by October end the number of suspected dengue cases totalled 60,110 while in October alone the number had risen to 8,248 compared to 7,186 in September. They said dengue cases had begun climbing from July (8,843) peaking in August ( 9,459) since a low in April ( 2,970). The highest number of cases ( 47.2%) were reported from the Western Province, with Colombo reporting a total of 12,753 by October end, followed by Gampaha ( 9,824) Kalutara (5,768) Galle (5,350) and Kandy (4,668.) Others over the 1,000 mark included Matara (3,054), Ratnapura (2,864) and Jaffna ( 2,826). The Municipal Council area in Colombo reported 2,306 cases as at October end and other areas in Colombo reported 10,447 bringing the total to 12,753, the sources told the paper.

Over 60,110 suspected cases of dengue have been reported to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health at the end of October 2019 the officials said. Informed sources were quoted as saying that of the 60,110 cases around 80 confirmed dengue deaths had been reported from all parts of the island by October end – compared to 58 for the whole of last year.

A health official told the Sunday Observer that often dengue was mistaken for flu which is also prevailing at present, and although all facilities were available for treating dengue patients, most patients delayed arriving at hospital till it was too late. “ If you have fever or suspected symptoms seek the help of a qualified physician on the first day of fever, especially, if you are pregnant or in the case of very young children. Don’t resort to home remedies. 

It is very important to seek medical attention in the event of fever and to do the relevant laboratory investigations to rule out the complications of dengue. They urged fever patients to get plenty of rest and stay at home without going to work or school to help their bodies recover and not infect others as well. “They should only take paracetamol according to the doctor’s advice and avoid other pain killers” he said.

Current flu normal, no cause for panic

The current flu prevailing in the country was normal at this time around, Consultant Medical Virologist, National Influenza Centre, Dept of Virology, Dr Jude Jayamaha told the Sunday Observer. He said there was no outbreak and advised the public not to get misled by such rumours.

“ There are four influenza strains. The main / predominant strain at present is influenza B. There is no outbreak or an impeding one. It is the usual increase due to various reasons involving high human traffic and mass gatherings.”

He said it was contagious and transmitted through respiratory droplets and by direct contact.Those most at risk were children below two years, elderly people over 65 years, pregnant mothers, chronic lung and heart disease patients and diabetics. He warned patients to refrain from taking Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used for pain killers and stressed that aspirin should be avoided as it was found to cause liver failure in elderly patients.

On the dos and don’ts to prevent it, he said the public should follow simple personal hygiene rules such as:

  •  washing hands with soap and water frequently
  •  covering mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing with a tissue or a handkerchief
  • disposing tissue and masks in no touch receptacles
  • cleaning and disinfecting the immediate environment and equipment used
  • Avoiding large crowds is also important, he added.

Reiterating his message to the public he said, “There is no need to panic. Adhere to personal hygiene such as cough etiquette, etc. If you feel unwell stay at home and rest. Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated. Avoid taking aspirin for fever.”