By Mirudhula Thambiah
Dengue is on the rise again with 6,077 cases and 54 deaths in five months, Health Ministry officials said. Colombo with 1,976 cases was identified as one of the most vulnerable districts followed by Gampaha with 709 cases, Batticaloa with 465 cases, Kalutara with 361 cases, Ratnapura with 289 cases and Kurunegala with 253.
This month a total of 1,235 cases was reported. The Colombo Municipal area recorded 833 cases, while only 310 cases were reported from outside the municipal limits in the district.
Chief Medical Officer of Health- Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said, among the 885 suspected dengue patients in Colombo 75% were confirmed cases. This was the highest number reported within Colombo city. He said that last year, the Colombo municipal area had 600 cases.
“While examining the causes in Colombo, it was found that public apathy and disinterest were the main contributors. Dengue fever affects both the rich and the poor,” Dr. Kariyawasam said. Dr. Kariyawasam said that only when family members get affected by dengue, do they start considering or think of overcoming the situation. “Since Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever has reached its peak within Colombo city, it is important that we get the public’s cooperation,” he said.
It was found that most of the victims from Colombo city limits were schoolchildren between the ages of 5 and 20 years, with 439 cases reported within this age limit. Even though several awareness programmes were conducted and eradication efforts implementd in the past months, the disease has not been brought under control. Accordingly, the CMC wants the public to organise groups of residents to be in charge of sections of streets, lanes and blocks of flats. These groups should conduct weekly visits and inspect the premises in the designated area. Mr. Kariyawsam said scouts, cadets, guides, interact club members should join this campaign while coordinating with the area MOH.
Meanwhile, Director- Colombo South Teaching Hospital (Kalubowila), Dr. Anil Jasinghe said other areas around Colombo including Mount-Lavinia, Moratuwa and Dehiwala were also vulnerable with over 200 cases being reported.
“Among the 1,976 cases identified within the Colombo district, 20% are being treated at the Colombo South Teaching Hospital,” he said.