Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Countrywide red alert on dengue

By Sandun A Jayasekara

The Health Ministry yesterday declared a national red alert on dengue through all its MOH offices as the number of deaths from the dengue outbreak continued to rise sharply with more patients seeking hospital treatment.

Government Epidemiology Unit’s Dr. Hasitha Tissera told the Daily Mirror the number of deaths this year from dengue had risen to 63 by yesterday in comparison to 27 deaths last year.

“This is alarming. We see a sharp increase in deaths and dengue cases from almost all parts of the country,” Dr. Tissera said. From January to April 2008 the number of dengue patients reported island wide were

728, 838, 598 and 601 respectively while in 2009 it increased to 1,247 in January, 948 in February, 868 in March and 1031 in April, he said.

A significant increase of dengue cases have been reported from Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy, Kalutara, Kurunegala, Kegalle, Matale, Puttalam, Hambantota, Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts.

“Patients must seek immediate hospital treatment if fever continues for more than three days. There is a possibility of patients developing hemorrhagic shock if they do not seek hospital treatment after three days,” Dr. Tissera warned.

The main culprit for the spread of not only dengue but almost all communicable diseases is the public themselves who do not keep their households and immediate environment clean and tidy thereby creating ideal breeding places for mosquitoes, he said.

The health ministry is conducting awareness programmes through MOH offices to educate the public and school children in particular on dengue and its prevention, he said.