A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
Sri Lanka has been facing an unprecedented outbreak of Dengue fever. Sri Lanka is a tropical country with two monsoon seasons. With each monsoon brings in two peaks of Dengue fever making it an endemic disease in Sri Lanka. However, 2017 started with an exceptionally high number of Dengue cases which shot up to an outbreak in May-June 2017, creating the largest Dengue outbreak experienced by the country for last three decades.
During the last 11 months of 2017, a total of 174,889 suspected Dengue cases have been reported to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Sri Lanka with over 320 deaths.
Approximately 41.93 per cent of Dengue cases were reported from the Western province. The highest numbers of Dengue cases were reported during the 29th week of 2017. All four Virus types of Dengue have been seen in Sri Lanka. The current outbreak is predominantly due to Dengue Fever Virus Type 2 (DEN-2), which is not the usual type circulating in Sri Lanka. According to the WHO, this is a 4.3-fold higher than the average number of cases for the same period between 2010 and 2016.
Monthly reported Dengue cases are varied depending on the rains received. In July 2017 the highest number of Dengue cases was reported where 23 per cent of the total Dengue cases reported.
Presently it can be seen that there is a reduction in Dengue cases reported; 5 per cent in the month of November 2017.
It is expected that the country will face another outbreak after the monsoon rains in months of January and February 2018. However, Dengue cases are emerging in districts where the present outbreak was not previously reported. Historical data shows that there are always two peaks of Dengue incidence in Sri Lanka. One during Southwest monsoons and another during Northeast monsoons. Analysis of the data on the present outbreak shows the incidence of Dengue is getting higher in eastern province and districts adjoining to western province. Especially with the commencement of the North-Eastern monsoons, there is a risk of Dengue outbreaks in more districts. The MoH had requested from SLRCS with a second letter dated 11 September 2017 to scale up the activities at community level.
Since the schools have been considered as a hot spot for Dengue in Sri Lanka and are closed in the month of December. Considering there is trend of outbreak in January and February, SLRCS requested for one month extension till 28 February 2018, to allow sufficient time to complete the school awareness activities and to conduct public awareness public education (PAPE) on Dengue prevention via mainstream media. The plan of action is attached at the end of this DREF operation update.