According to epidemiologists, there is a possibility of a dengue outbreak in the next few weeks with the ongoing rains and the significant increase of dengue mosquito density in several areas of the country. It is important to take early steps to prevent a dengue outbreak.
According to the sources, 8,454 dengue cases is the highest number reported from the Colombo district while the second highest number (4,743) had been reported from the Gampaha district. The third highest number of dengue cases (4,520) had been reported from the Batticaloa district.
The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) reported a total of 2,115 dengue cases during the same period. The other parts of the Colombo district recorded 6,339 dengue cases. The total number of dengue cases reported from the Western Province was 15,822, epidemiologists said.
Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) will inform Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Chamal Rajapaksa in writing about the possibility of a dengue outbreak in the country in the near future, GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said.
According to Dr. Aluthge, there is a possibility of a dengue outbreak in the next four to six weeks. Special attention should be paid on eradicating dengue in the Western Province, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kurunegala and Kandy.
There is a significant increase in dengue patients during the past week and attention should be paid to destroying dengue mosquito breeding sites located island-wide to prevent dengue. Dengue control programmes should be implemented early and a good coordination should be maintained among authorities and institutions, he added.
* People can protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves/ fully covered dresses during daytime.
* Use of mosquito repellents (the mosquito repellent should be applied on the skin and repeat applying after a few hours)
* The most popular mosquito repellent is Citronella oil. It can be applied by mixing with 50 percent of coconut oil or something similar to reduce the mild burning sensation.
* Natural mosquito repellents should be used for children between two and five years.
* Mosquito nets should be used while sleeping both day and night.
* House screening (windows and doors) using nets or similar material to prevent the entry of mosquitoes.
* Keeping bedrooms, kitchens and toilets well-lit, ventilated and airy to prevent hiding of adult female mosquitoes inside houses.
* Special attention should be paid to destroy and clean all possible dengue mosquito breeding sites which hold water such as gutters, water tanks, refrigerator tray, commode and its water tank regularly (at least once a week). Rubbing the floor is a must.
* All plants in the bromeliad family, cut bamboo trees, tree holes etc. should be removed or filled with sand. Wells should be used daily or otherwise those should be covered with a net or similar material preventing the entry of mosquitoes.
* All flower vases with water, ant traps, small ponds etc. should be removed from homes.
* Garbage, especially used food containers, tyres, etc. should be removed from gardens. Even a tiny pen clip which holds water is adequate for dengue mosquitoes to breed. Cleaning should be done regularly (at least once a week).
* Since dengue mosquitoes cannot fly for kilometres or miles, the people should pay attention to keep their homes and surroundings free of mosquito breeding sites.
If a person suffers from fever
* Pregnant mothers, infants, elderly and people who suffer from chronic diseases should seek immediate treatment for fever.
* Home remedies should not be applied for any type of fever even when a few family members are suffering from a viral flu.
* All fever patients should get bed rest. They should not attend work, school etc.
* Medications such as Aspirin and Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac etc. should not be taken.
* All fever patients should take Paracetamol only. Other medications cause Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF).
* Fever patients should not take any red or dark brown food and beverages. It makes it difficult for Consultants to diagnose DHF.
* A Full Blood Count should be tested in 48 hours and even if the results are normal, the test should be repeated in another 24 hours. Fever patients should not ignore fever even if the fever goes down in a day or two. They must carry out the blood tests after the fever goes down.