The first quarter of this year saw 2,191 dengue-related arrests by police, with Rs 3.9 million collected as fines from ‘mosquito breeders’.
Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said, since the police got involved with the health officers, in inspection and detection, in August 2011 police have filed more than 3,500 cases under the Penal Code.
A majority of the arrests were made in the Gampaha district, where 626 persons were arrested with fines exceeding Rs.1.8 million for Q1 this year.
Meanwhile, 547 persons were arrested in Nugegoda, 412 from Kalutara, 199 from Panadura, 187 from Kelaniya, 75 from Negombo, two from Colombo south and one from Colombo central.
Apart from creating a mosquito breeding environment, police are also arresting persons for dumping garbage on streets, failing to keep construction sites clean and violation of laws related to mosquito breeding, in relation to which 6,276 arrests were made and produced in courts this year.
With the increasing number of dengue cases in suburban areas, both in Colombo and Gampaha districts, more litigation is in the offing during Mosquito Control Week from May 14 to 20.
“Though, previously, it was Colombo city where majority of the cases were reported from, now there is a growing increase from the suburbs of Colombo such as Kolonnawa, Dehiwala, Maharagama and Moratuwa areas,” said Health Ministry’s Dengue Control Unit Director Dr R. Batuwanthudawe.
He said that, with the onset of the rainy season, Gampaha district is under heavy threat due to unattended construction sites, discarded containers and tyres, while failure to maintain gardens and clean birdbaths and ponds would compound the issue.
Attanagalla, Biyagama, Dompe, Katana, Kelaniya, Minuwangoda, Negombo and Wattala are declared as high risk areas in Gampaha district with the exception of Ragama and Seeduwa, he said.
To date, 46 deaths have been reported and the number of dengue cases has exceeded 11,000 (11,148) islandwide.
In the first quarter of this year, 9,430 dengue patients were identified, compared with 3,088 cases for the corresponding period in 2011.
“Usually, the trend is an outbreak once in two years, with the last outbreak in 2010. Therefore, it is imperative to prevent another outbreak this year,” said Dr. Batuwanthudawe.