The Health Ministry and its dengue response units have moved quickly to pre-empt any further spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever with the onset of heavy rains in many parts of the country. Urban clean-up programmes have been launched as the number of dengue-affected people increased in recent months and public messaging regarding risks and counter-measures have been intensified, Health officials said today.
A total of 62 clinically proven dengue patients had died as at August 23 this year while 40,649 dengue patients had been reported from all parts of the country. There are a few more deaths reported during this period but they had not been confirmed as ‘dengue deaths’ so far,. Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe disclosed. This indicates a worsening of the situation compared with the 58 dengue deaths reported for the whole of 2018, according to Epidemiology Unit data.
Dr. Jasinghe said that the Health authorities have intensified their messaging to the public. With barely two weeks to go, school authorities have been advised to clean up mosquito breeding sites located in and around schools before the end of the school vacation early next month.The public are being asked to be vigilant about all types of mosquito breeding sites and to destroy them on a regular basis. At least 30 minutes per week should be allocated to clean mosquito breeding sites, the medical authorities are warning all residents.Experts are also warning the public not to take drugs such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac Sodium, Mefenamic Acid etc without medical consultation. According to Dr. Jasinghe, fever patients should not take any other Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and Steroids such as Prednisolone, Methyl-Prednisolone and Dexamethasone. Doctors who treat fever patients should avoid prescribing above drugs. The medications mentioned above cause Dengue hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) which can become fatal. Applying mosquito repellents is another effective method to prevent mosquito bites.
The Western Province recorded a total of 18,627 dengue cases as at August 23rd, which is the highest for the country. The Colombo district alone recorded a total of 8,441 dengue cases which is the highest. The Gampaha district recorded the second highest number of dengue cases which is 6183 while the Galle district recorded 4,206 dengue cases. The highest number of dengue cases of this year, 8799 was reported in July, Ministry sources said. In the past it was first and second types of dengue that was reported, but, the third and fourth types of dengue cases have also been reported during this season.
With the ongoing rainy conditions, the Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit has identified six high risk districts. They are Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Ratnapura, Galle and Matara districts.Meanwhile, medical experts and specialist consultants hqave been alerted to advise pregnant mothers to get admitted to a hospital if they have fever. The general public are advised to promptly seek medical treatment for any type of fever without resorting to home remedies.All fever patients need rest and they should refrain from attending work or school, officials said.