Warning of increased dengue in North, East and parts of CP

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

 The Health Ministry yesterday warned that people of the North, East and certain parts of the Central Province to take precautions against dengue as it could rise due to the Northeast monsoons.

Health Ministry Spokesman, Dharma Wanninayake said people in Jaffna, Vavuniya and the Eastern and Central Provinces were at risk of contracting the mosquito borne disease.

He said, however, that there had not been a drastic increase in the number of dengue cases with the number reported from January till the third week of December being 30,291.

A majority of the districts had reported a limited number of dengue patients. Citing examples from the numbers reported last month, he said that Moneragala accounted for just 20, Badulla (46), Polonnaruwa (45), Anuradhapura (29), Vavuniya (08) and Matale (34).

This situation is opposed to the total numbers reported last year when the number of dengue cases increased to 44,456.

The spokesman said that the highest numbers reported this year were from Colombo (10,093), Gampaha (3619), Kalutara (1779), Kandy (1703), Kurunegala (2695), Galle (848) and Puttalam (889).

Large numbers reported from those areas were due to large breeding areas like improperly monitored construction sites and big populations in them, he said.

Wanninayake added that 70 deaths were reported during last year. 

Meanwhile, the Colombo Municipal Council Public Health Department said it would carry out a massive awareness campaign in January. "People have forgotten where the dengue mosquito breeds," Chief of the PHD, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said. In a majority of places there were bird baths, ponds and discarded utensils. 

Over 200 dengue cases had been reported to the Department this month. There were 12 pockets of dengue affected areas. 3,300 dengue cases had been reported this year with 17 deaths so far this year.

Dr. Kariyawasam, responding to a question, said that the Council had started using BTI manufactured in USA. Then, there was a switch to the locally produced Bti. The Council only wasted funds and time as the Sri Lankan Bti was unproductive and had to be stopped.

The Cuban Government offered to provide the Cuban manufactured Bti to the Sri Lankan government. However, Sri Lanka opted to intensify its external and human resources to fight the mosquito borne disease rather than spend over USD 45 million on it. 

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