Over 24K dengue cases this year

By Dinitha Rathnayake

A total of 24,038 dengue cases have been reported so far this year, according to National Dengue Control Unit (NDCU) Community Physician and Specialist Dr. Shilanthi Seneviratne.

Speaking to The Morning, she said there is a certain increase in cases compared to the corresponding period last year but that last year’s full year total of dengue cases has not been exceeded yet.

“This could be a result of easing the travel restrictions since last year, during the corresponding period travel restrictions were imposed due to Covid situations and people were unable to travel. But this year, it’s different. People tend to travel, and use and throw  plastic materials into the environment,” she said.

A total of 981 cases have been reported from the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) area so far, with 3,522 cases from other areas of Colombo. According to the Epidemiology Unit, the total number of cases reported from both CMC and other areas of Colombo is around 4,503.

Dr. Seneviratne said that most cases have been reported from the Western Province due to its population, mobility, slums, and congested areas.

According to her, a considerable number of cases were also being detected from the Kandy, Batticaloa, Badulla, Kegalle, Kurunegala, and Ratnapura Districts.

The NDCU has implemented a special dengue control programme aimed at preventing the situation from escalating to an epidemic stage in the backdrop of increasing dengue cases.

This programme was implemented from 18 to 13 November in 59 selected high-risk medical officer of health (MOH) divisions in the Western and Eastern Provinces.

“The programme was successful; however, there were certain days that we couldn’t implement the programme due to bad weather. So we are planning to cover up for those days this week as well,” she said.

During this period, teams consisting of field staff of the MOH offices, the Police, the armed forces, and other volunteers will work to identify mosquito breeding grounds while protecting homes and related areas in these areas, and to educate residents about the removal of such areas.

The public will be made aware of possible dengue breeding grounds in and around their homes and advice will be given to maintain an environment free of mosquito breeding sites.

Meanwhile, she said not to delay in seeking medication, since it is especially a great concern due to fears of Covid-19.

“Some try to avoid the hospitals due to the current Covid situation, but we advise the public to have a full blood test count if you are suffering from fever for more than two days. It could be Covid or dengue. Best thing is to have an antigen test or full blood count,” she emphasised.

Dr. Seneviratne urged people to seek medical advice as early as possible and invited people to allocate time to destroy all mosquito breeding places surrounding their neighbourhood, as it had also become one of the major concerns in the country.