Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Praba Palihawadana said that new influenza AH1N1 had spread to 207 countries. The situation is such that most countries had stopped taking count. Over 8,000 had died and in the US alone 5,000 deaths had been reported.
In Sri Lanka the Health Ministry reports indicate that dengue is under control. It means while Cuba has agreed to donate 30,000 litres of Bti for spraying in districts where the disease continues to be on the increase. However, the Deputy Director General (Public Health), Dr. Palitha Mahipala warned that the rains could once more give rise to an epidemic situation if the public fail to keep the environment clean.
The Health Ministry’s Dr. Mahipala said at a press conference yesterday (08) that during the last two weeks Colombo, Matale and Vavuniya had shown an increase in the number of dengue cases. A mosquito control programme was carried out in these three districts following situation reports and the situations in the areas were assessed on Monday (07). While the situation in Vavuniya still remained uncertain conditions in Colombo and Matale had improved, he said.
The total number of dengue cases reported from the beginning of January to December 4 was 30,784 while the number of dengue deaths had risen to 285. The areas that were severely affected by epidemic were Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Matara, Kurunegala, Kegalle and Ratnapura. The peak months of the epidemic were between May and July where the number of cases reported was around 2000.
Dr. Mahipala urged the heads of institutions, schools and private tutories to carry out regular cleaning programmes to control mosquito breeding.
Referring to the effect swine flu has had on Sri Lankans, she said that the number of cases had increased to 450 and the number of deaths reported was 21. A majority of them have been women.
The Sri Lanka Resident Representative of the WHO, Dr. F. R. Mehetha said the WHO would provide Sri Lanka with 380 million vaccines for swine flu by January. The total number of vaccines the country would receive would amount to two million.
Those who have been administered the vaccine for the A.H1N1 virus would be closely observed for allergic reactions, he said.