During the past five months of this year there have been 19,825 reported cases of dengue-related complications with 22 deaths, Health Minister Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi said yesterday.
She said with the onset of monsoonal rains there was a possibility of there being an increasing number of patients and deaths.
The minister said the number of dengue patients and deaths were much higher than COVID19-related patients and deaths and therefore it was extremely important for people to take extra care to avoid falling victims to dengue-related illnesses.
At a discussion chaired my the minister was held at the Health Ministry to prepare a plan to ensure that dengue is brought under control.
It was revealed at the discussion that 2020 was better than 2019, where there were 150 deaths and 105,049 reported cases of dengue.
The minister directed that dengue prevention units at local council level be strengthened and raids by environmental police be increased to nab householders who have dengue breeding sites in their premises.
Meanwhile, the Chief Epidemiologist of the Government Epidemiology Unit (GEU), Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said people living in paddy cultivation areas should take two 100mg tablets of the anti- bacterial Doxycycline daily to kill the bacteria ‘genus Leptospira’ that carries leptospirosis which is on the rise in many districts in the country.
He said Leptospirosis, widely known as rat fever had caused deaths of nine patients out of 500 in the first four months of this year and that stagnant water in paddy fields, culverts and lakes contaminated with with rat urine act as a carrier of leptospirosis which if diagnosed and treated early it can be fully cured.
Farmers in the districts of Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Badulla identified as vulnerable areas and must be careful not to step into stagnant water if they have open wounds in their legs and must take a tablet Doxycycline daily as an antidote for the disease. (Sandun A Jayasekera)