More than 2/3 of dengue victims under 20


By Dilanthi Jayamanne 

The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council yesterday revealed that approximately 70 percent of those who were affected by dengue in the city were below the age of 20.  

Addressing a press conference at the Town Hall to announce the special dengue control campaign which is scheduled to commence from Kirulapona and Pamankade wards today (03), Chief of the Municipal Public Health Department, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that the total number of suspected dengue cases this year were over 900 - which was 10 percent less than last year.  

Although there was a slight increase at the beginning of the year (420) there had been a decline to 134 cases in March. However the number of cases again increased to 145 in April.  

The PHD Chief warned that the number of cases would increase further if timely action was not taken to control the situation due to the rains. The dengue mosquito could breed even in a teaspoon of water, he said and warned city dwellers to take the initiative to have their gutters and solid waste cleaned to prevent breeding of mosquitoes.  

Today’s programme is scheduled to commence from ‘Sithumina Hall’ in Kirulapone. The campaign would be carried out during the next three weeks in high risk areas.  

Dr. Kariyawasam said that one third of dengue patients were from Kirulapone, while others were from Pamankade, Wellawatte, Slave Island and Mattakkuliya.  

The campaign would be carried out with the assistance of  250 PHD personnel in collaboration with ‘Panadol’ which would support to promote the campaign through a series of awareness messages such as the causes of the epidemic, identifying symptoms of dengue and the need for medical assistance in managing fever of dengue patients.  

The programme includes awareness creating for PHD staff which comprises medical officers, nurses, midwives and PHIs, field assistants, health instructors, labourers and volunteers in the six wards under its purview. Inspections would be carried out in households, schools, and public and private sector institutions. He warned that the Municipality would come down hard on school principals, who had mosquito breeding places in their premises as well as public and private institutions.  

There should also be a change in the opening hours of schools to avoid the time in which the dengue mosquito bites. Dr. Kariyawasam explained that the mosquito fed during 7 and 7.30 a.m. the time during which schools started in the morning. He said that steps should be taken to delay it till 8.30 a.m. to reduce the number of children being affected.

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