© 2012 • Sabin Vaccine Institute • 2000 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 7100 • Washington, DC 20006 • t. (202) 842-5025
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
By Alyah Khan
Sri Lanka is one of the latest countries to experience an alarming rise in dengue cases. Recent news out of the country has been filled with stories of dengue prevention efforts and updates on the rapid spread of the disease.
According to a June 18 report in ColomboPage, there have been 12,165 dengue cases and 65 deaths from the disease in Sri Lanka. (These numbers tend to vary depending on the news source.)
Earlier this week, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health declared the period from June 25 to July 25 as “National Dengue Eradication Month.” The country’s presidentially appointed anti-dengue task force will conduct a variety of dengue prevention activities during this time. Additionally, health officials urged media outlets to devote more airtime to educating the public about dengue.
The health ministry has warned that the country’s dengue outbreak has evolved into a severe epidemic. As a result, a health ministry official told local media that all government hospitals are currently overflowing with dengue patients and are hazardous to other patients. Officials said that school children are the most vulnerable population in terms of contracting dengue.
The Business Standard reported that the capital district of Colombo has recorded the highest number of dengue cases, with nearly 3,000 suffering from the disease. Although a national dengue eradication program was launched in 2010, there has been a surge in the number of dengue cases this year.
Another news article said that Sri Lanka has seen a threefold increase in the number of cases when comparing this year to last year. Medical officials expect that this figure will increase dramatically in the coming months with the onslaught of the rainy season.
Meanwhile, public health inspectors in the country recently went on strike in protest of the government’s failure to meet their financial demands. The health ministry is attempting to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible so that the inspectors can get back to work. The inspectors are particularly vital during Sri Lanka’s dengue outbreak.