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Sunday, 14 August 2016

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Dengue hits new low but can escalate

Suspected dengue cases islandwide have slumped drastically over the past one month Epidemiology Unit sources told the Sunday Observer. At least six districts which recorded an incidence above the 500 mark have plunged four fold between July 31 and August 13, Health Ministry sources said.

In Colombo, which registered 2,953 cases of suspected dengue in July, it tumbled to 398 in August. The Gampaha district which had 285 cases at July end, was down to 124 as of yesterday (August 13) : Kandy dropped from 1,167 to 146, Galle fell from 447 to a mere 24, Matara dropped from 280 to 44, Jaffna fell from 225 in July end to 49 on August 13, Kurunegala which had 583 cases in July dropped to just 70 cases while Ratnapura which had zoomed to 654 suspected cases by July end now stood at 53.

The Municipal Council Colombo area also registered a sharp drop in cases from 583 in July to 53 cases this month.

"This islandwide reduction is due to our mosquito control activities which include case base fogging and source reduction," Community Physician, National Dengue Control Unit, Dr Preshilla Samaraweera said.

However, she warned that there could be a surge in the deadly disease which has no vaccine as yet, unless efforts to eliminate sites which attracted the dengue carrying vector, were not sustained.

"Over a thousand patients are being admitted to our hospitals each week with suspected dengue. We need to halve this number, so that the doctors will cope with the number of admissions ", she noted.

Since 51 % of cases have been reported from the Western Province, she said from August 26 - 29, a special dengue reduction programme would be held in the Western Province, targeting mainly school children who were most at risk. From September 27-October 3 an all island National Dengue Prevention programme will be conducted ahead of the North East monsoons.

Meanwhile, authorities in some state hospitals said their special dengue wards were already overcrowded.

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