Sri Lanka’s National Dengue Control Unit (NDCU) reports in an update today that the number of dengue cases reported in the country has risen to 47,964. 50% of cases are reported from the Western Province.
The majority of the patients recorded thus far are from the Colombo and Gampaha districts.
In addition, 27 dengue deaths have been reported to date.
State Minister of Health Dr. Seetha Arambepola, Chairperson of the Dengue Control Expert Committee, said that a special cleanliness program for dengue control will be undertaken in the Colombo Municipal Council area next weekend, and the public is requested to remain at home and support it.
The State Minister added that a week of larval inspections covering the Colombo and Gampaha districts will follow the initiative.
Senior Consultant Physician Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama says that there is a risk of a dengue epidemic with the onset of the monsoon and dengue control needs to receive more attention from all sectors.
He emphasized that everyone’s assistance is important for this because neither the Government nor the Health Authorities can control the dengue virus on their own.
Sri Lanka’s dengue history
Although clinical dengue-like illness has been reported in Sri Lanka since the early 20th century
(serologically confirmed in 1962), Dengue fever and Dengue Hemorrhagic fever became nationally notifiable diseases in Sri Lanka in 1996.
Dengue shows a seasonal transmission in Sri Lanka with two peaks occurring with the monsoon rains in June to July and October to December, respectively, while the majority of cases occur during June to July.
There was an island-wide epidemic of dengue with 51 cases of DHF and 15 deaths during the period 1965-1968. Thereafter, from the early 1990s, progressively large epidemics with more severe and fatal DHF were reported at regular intervals.
There were two epidemics of dengue reported in 2002 and 2004 with 8931 cases and 15463 cases, respectively.
In 2017, a total of 186,101 suspected dengue cases and 440 dengue-related deaths were reported to the Epidemiology Unit which is the highest number of suspected cases reported in a single calendar year in Sri Lanka since 1996.
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