Sri Lankan health officials report today that more than 17,000 dengue fever cases in the island country from Jan. 1 to Jul. 16. Colombo and Gampaha districts saw the most cases with 5,017 and 2,307, respectively.

Aedes mosquito
Aedes aegypti image/CDC

46,584 cases were reported during the whole of 2014.

In June, a Special Program for Dengue prevention was planned in Western Province and 6 other districts identified as potentially high transmission risk for dengue by the National Dengue Control Unit and Epidemiology unit along with the stake holders of Presidential Task on Dengue Prevention. This included premise inspections for mosquito breeding sites.

Health officials say construction sites and half built buildings are the main dengue mosquito breeding sites in urban and semi urban areas.

The 1st serologically confirmed dengue case in Sri Lanka was reported in 1962, and the 1st documented dengue outbreak occurred in 1965-1966. Since that time, dengue fever has been a problem in the country.

Dengue fever is a disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses (DENV 1, DENV 2, DENV 3, or DENV 4). The viruses aretransmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.

The principal symptoms of dengue fever are high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes,joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mildbleeding (e.g., nose or gums bleed, easy bruising). Generally, younger children and those with their first dengue infection have a milder illness than older children and adults.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there may be 50–100 million dengue infections worldwide every year. However, new research from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust, using cartographic approaches, estimate there to be 390 million dengue infections per year worldwide.