Dengue continues spreading

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The total number of dengue cases, reported by the Epidemiology Unit, from the beginning of January up to the end of November stood at 23,524. Health Ministry sources said yesterday that that 1,880 cases had been reported by the Unit last month.

A majority of cases have been reported from Colombo (8,606), Gampaha (3,597), Kalutara (1,203) and Kandy (1,271). The extensive mosquito control programmes, carried out by the government and the community, were able to control the disease. However, the dry spell, experienced during the last few weeks, had reduced public vigilance.

Sources said that entomological surveys carried out last month in ten districts including Colombo, Gampaha, Matara, Anuradhapura and Batticaloa have revealed that the number of breeding places and larvae had shown a tremendous increase – so much so the Ministry has decided to declare red alert in those districts.

Last year, the number of dengue from January to December was over 30,000 while the numbers reported in November were 645.

When asked why the government had not recognised the papaya leaf supportive medication method discovered by consultant family physician Dr. Sanath Hettige, health Ministry sources said the government had taken note of the method. It lacks practicality as it involves crushing leaves and straining - a methodology inclined towards indigenous medicine.

Sources said that dengue haemorrhagic fever could be prevented if a patient with a fever lasting for more than two days is admitted to the hospital on time. However, a majority are admitted during the last stages of the fever. They said that many of them are adults.

Dr. Hettige said that Papaya leaf juice increased the platelet count and prevented the fever reaching a haemorrhagic stage. However, it’s only a supportive medication. Suspected dengue patients must be admitted to hospital and must receive treatment, he said.

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