Sri Lanka tackles dengue fever crisis
Authorities in Sri Lanka have launched a campaign to stamp out dengue in the country.
The move comes amid reports of more than 20,000 suspected cases in the first six months of this year and recent heavy rains creating ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes carrying the disease.
According to official data from the Epidemiological Unit of Sri Lanka’s Department of Health, 20,954 suspected dengue cases have been reported across the country this year, with 31 deaths.
More than 46 per cent of those were reported in the Western Province, which includes the districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara.
With recent rains and floods creating ideal breeding conditions for the dengue-carrying Aedes mosquito, experts fear the situation will worsen.
In response a campaign was launched this week by police, army and health authorities, who aim to destroy breeding areas, educate people about the disease, and take legal action against anyone maintaining environments suitable for the breeding of dengue mosquitoes in their private properties.
In the capital Colombo, which is reportedly the area hardest hit, officials were seen fumigating streets, buses and dump sites in recent days, an epa journalist reports.
Inspections of houses, government buildings and vacant land were also being carried out by health officials and police.
Since Thursday steps have been taken to pursue legal action against 139 people found in the inspections to be maintaining mosquito breeding grounds, the Colombo Page news site reports.
The Ministry of Health said notices were also issued to another 853 people.
Dengue, the symptoms of which include fevers, headaches, muscle pains and rashes, is a recurring problem in Sri Lanka, with an average of 15,000 cases reported in the first six months of the year between 2010 and 2015.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that globally there are 50 to 100 million dengue infections annually, while research from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust puts the number of infections at 390 million.