Increase of dengue feared, especially in North

Health officials warn that the increase in the number of dengue patients since December may continue for a few months especially in the northern parts of the island.

A total number of 337 deaths and 34,003 dengue cases were reported in 2009 and early January. Although the highest numbers of cases are being reported from Colombo district with Gampaha and Kandy districts following, a drastic increase was seen in December in Jaffna, Kurunegala, Puttalam and Anuradhapura districts and in the Kalmunai area and according to health authorities may continue this year as well.

Jaffna district saw a drastic increase from 33 in November to 204 cases in December, Vavuniya district recorded 163 cases in November and 590 cases in December.

Dr. T. Saythyamoorthy, Additional Provincial Director of Health Services in the north said that 22 confirmed deaths have been reported with 1037 cases reported.

“The sudden influx of people, climate changes and the increased number of buildings and places where water stagnates are some of the major reasons for the increase d number of patients in Vavuniya district,” he said.

He said that the Task Force for Dengue Control in Vavuniya, is continuously working to bring down the number of cases. He added that 40 cases have been filed against those who have violated laws enforced to prevent mosquito breeding.

Another increase was seen in Kurunegala district where the number of cases increased from 98 in November to 134 in December. Puttalam district also saw an increase from 38 in November to 136 in December. In Anuradhapura district the cases increased from 16 in November to 117 in December. The Kalmunai area also saw an increase from 43 in November to 84 cases in December.

The Colombo Municipal Council area also recorded a sudden increase of dengue cases from 131 in November to 327 cases in December. Colombo district had an increase of cases from 363 in November to 577 in December. Gampaha district saw a slight decrease from 347 cases to 284 cases in December. An official attached to the Epidemiology Unit in Colombo said school authorities have been advised to take all possible measures to keep the environment clean and gutters cleaned to prevent breeding of mosquitoes.

He also said that even adult males were recent victims due to ignorance. “Although it was believed most of the deaths were among small children even young male adults most of whom were employed were victims. This is mainly due to not taking action, through ignorance, when symptoms of dengue fever are noticed,” he said.

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