Support of all sectors of public vital to prevent outbreak of dengue -Health authorities | Sunday Observer
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Support of all sectors of public vital to prevent outbreak of dengue -Health authorities

24 April, 2022

With the number of dengue cases and deaths steadily mounting, health authorities are warning that unless immediate preventive action is taken to stop this dangerous trend, there could be another outbreak of dengue which may be difficult to control due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and current crisis in the country.

Health Ministry officers on grounds of anonymity told the Sunday Observer that the Dengue Control Unit of the Ministry had already put in place many interventions with the main goal as preventing rather than just treating the disease, thus reducing the heavy economic dengue burden and the grief caused to bereaved families from the loss of a loved one as a result of dengue.

Asked to explain the cause for the rise in dengue deaths, especially among children, health officers said that the main cause was the delay in taking a patient to hospital no sooner the patient showed signs of suspected dengue. “ We have several parents who keep trying various home remedies when their children develop fever and have diarrhea and pass on reduced quantities of urine. Our advice to them is Don’t delay. If they show these symptoms, take them to your nearest hospital or your family physician who already knows the child’s history. Get the child examined and if the doctor advises that he/she be warded do so. Confirmation of whether or not the child has dengue will only be known after a further lab test.”


Replying to our query as to what test was being used for this, they said the Rapid antigen swab test was being used and found to be effective along with other tests available in most hospitals and in private hospitals. If the child was found to have very mild symptoms which could be treated at home, we also give the parents advice on how to treat them at home with plenty of liquid, kande, Jeevani , soups, and rubbing the child’s body with tepid water to bring down the temperature.

“Avoid Steroids like iBrufen . give only Panadol as prescribed by the doctor according to their child’s age, weight and height”, they added, cautioning that over-dosing could also lead to complications especially in a young child whose immune system is still developing.

Why is dengue spreading?

Commenting on the current spread of dengue, health officials said that the main reason was the heavy monsoon rains. Üsually dengue peaks during the main monsoon periods in this country. From April onwards till June or July we can expect more rains and consequently an increase in the mosquito population. It is the female mosquito that bites and it needs about 4-5 feeds every day.

While not every mosquito carries the dengue virus, if an infected mosquito bites a person it could infect many others in the nearby vicinity at the same time . Young children are most at risk as their blood is fresh. We have warned mothers to take precautions by making them wear clothes that fully cover their body and using cirtronella ( pangiri thel ) oil or mosquito sprays to ward off mosquitoes,” they told the Sunday Observer.

Small container disease

Sources said that as dengue was a small container disease it was important that all members of the public should come together and get rid of all the receptacles that attract dengue. “Even a small drop of water can be a breeding ground for mosquito larvae which don’t die for several days. They should also get rid of old tryes, gutters, old machines, coconut shells, and junk lying in their back gardens . If the task is too much for them, they should call for help from their grama sevakayas, or nearest olice officveres to help the, We have thus asked the support of the local grassroot officers, Police and civil societies to help us in this public effort”, sources from the Dengue control Unit said.

They said that education programmes were already underway to educate the public, schools and parents. “If a school has not been opened for a logn time , it is the duty of the school authorities and staff as welol as the parents to make sure the classrooms, school grounds and the area immediately outside the school is clean , and free of mosquito attracting repellents. Bins for collecting rubbish have been handed to some schools with limited resources. Additionally, we are continuing spraying, fumigating and dredging activities” ,they said.

Sources also said that wells, if used for drinking purposes in a school, must be cleaned and the local Miniciple Council should be informed about visiting them premises and overseeing if they needed to be chlorinated. They must also make sure that all well are covered.``

New resources

Asked if in this hi -tech age, any new advanced resources were being used for detecting dengue cases ahead of tiem, sources said that they could now track the movements of the mosquito and track them by mapping out the density of cases in certain areas . “For example at this time we know that certain areas like Puttlam, Mannar, Jaffna, Kilinocchi, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ratnapura, Kegalle and Boralesgamuwa must be having a large mosquito population since the number of cases in these areas are higher than in other parts of the country. So our health inspectgors are asked to visit these areas and seek out each house where there has been a reported case of dengue. They have been authorised to enter the houses and inspect the premises and if found to be unclean , hand red notices to the occupants. The occupants will be given upto two weeks to clean up their gardens and inform the address given to them that they can be visited again. We also give spot fines to some on a case by case basis.”


Dengue is treatable and preventable. The dengue mosquito has only a very short flying power – literally over the wall. So keep your garden clean and also make sure your neighbour’s garden is clean as well .See that no one puts their rubbish outside their gates onto the main road or lane in which you live. If you own any land that has not been cleared for a long time, inform us or get it cleaned without delay. If your child shows symptoms of dengue, bring him to the nearest hospital as soon as you can . don’t try to treat him at home. In the case of pregnant women, dengue can harm the foetus. The mother with dengue symptoms must be hospitalised and made to rest in a hospital setting with saline drips till she recovers and can go home. Rest Is vital.