Change lukewarm attitude, help control dengue
The number of dengue deaths has passed 127 and counting. The affected
persons have exceeded 9000. In 2005 the number of patients that died
from dengue was 28 while there were 5994 dengue patients.
In 2006, 48 patients died from dengue while 11980 were affected. In
2007 the number of patients who died from dengue is 28 while 7327
patients were affected. In 2008 only 19 patients died from dengue while
4825 patients were affected.
The little creature more dangerous than man
This year’s figures are very alarming because we are in the sixth
month of the year and over 120 patients have already died from dengue
while more than 8500 persons are affected. 52 deaths have been reported
only in the month of May (last month) this year. Colombo, Gampaha,
Kalutara, Kandy, Kurunegala, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Kegalle, Matale,
Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Puttalam are the districts that are badly
Despite talks about dengue, symptoms, treatment, mosquitoes, cleaning
mosquito breeding sites, etc. there are many other important aspects
that have not been touched on. Some facts that indeed deserve attention
are: Basic information about dengue fever. Symptoms and prevention can
be found everywhere. Therefore it is useful to pay attention to the
facts that were not highlighted so far.
According to Media Coordinator to the Healthcare and Nutrition
Ministry W. M. D. Wanninayake when a person gets fever he or she needs
to seek medical treatment without delay. It is better to seek medical
treatment from a state hospital or a Government dispensary.
This is because such institutions have a proper follow up program for
suspect dengue patients. Seeking medical treatment early from a state
hospital is vital.
Mr. Wanninayake pointed out the importance of cleaning hidden
mosquito breeding sites such as fallen tree leaves, especially the parts
of banana trees and similar trees. Banana leaves also hold clean water
in which dengue mosquitoes can breed.
In some houses tables are being kept on small water pots in order to
prevent ants from climbing to the table. These water pots are another
good place to breed dengue mosquitoes.
Dengue larvae can survive in a dry environment for a period of one
year. Even after one year these larvae can produce dengue mosquitoes
when they receive water. This shows the danger of maintaining unclean
Recently Ratnapura district was hit by Chikungunya - another type of
fever caused by mosquitoes. The reason was attributed to mosquito
breeding grounds found in gem mines scattered all over Ratnapura
Sri Lanka is about to eradicate Malaria. Remarkably no Malaria deaths
have been reported from Sri Lanka during the past three years.
It is also resulted in an unprecedented 99 per cent decrease in the
reported Malaria burden during the past ten years. This is the latest
situation about Malaria in Sri Lanka and it shows how good Sri Lanka is
doing when it comes to controlling Malaria. So why cannot we control
dengue? What is wrong and where?
Here is half of the answer for above question. The number of warnings
issued by the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry to the persons who kept
mosquito breeding sites within their properties in the Colombo city is
It shows how many wealthy and educated persons breed dengue
mosquitoes. According to Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, professors
and doctors are among those found guilty of keeping mosquito breeding
sites within their properties.
So no need to talk about the lukewarm attitude of the ordinary people
towards eradicating dengue. The other important fact is, 35 percent of
dengue patients are women and 25 percent of them school children which
means they had been infected when they are at home or school.
According to some recent news reports some authorities closed down
schools when they found that many school children were infected. What
they should have done was to take immediate steps to clean the school
environment because the dengue mosquito can fly only 500 meters.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dengue is
transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with anyone of the
four dengue viruses. It occurs in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the
Symptoms appear 3 -14 days after the infective bite. Dengue fever is
a febrile illness that affects infants, young children and adults.
Symptoms range from a mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with
severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash.
There are no specific antiviral medicines for dengue. It is important
to maintain hydration. Use of acetylsalicylic acid (e.g. aspirin) and
non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Ibuprofen) is not
Dengue haemorrhagic fever (fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding)
is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children. Early
clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by experienced
physicians and nurses increase survival of patients.