Laboratory findings have revealed that the disease spreading in Southern Province was a pneumonia outbreak mainly due to influenza virus, Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe yesterday said.
Dr. Jasinghe in a statement said the health authorities had taken measures to mitigate the current situation.
“Attention has been drawn to the increased number of patients with acute respiratory tract infection at Karapitiya Teaching Hospital and General Hospital Matara during last few weeks. Preliminary investigations of the incident have revealed that there were few deaths among infants of less than one year due to acute respiratory infection during that period,” he said.
He said few hundreds of children were admitted to the peadiatric wards with acute fever and respiratory symptoms during this period and added that they had experienced increased number of pneumonia cases among children in Matara and Galle districts.
“According to laboratory findings there is evidence suggested of pneumonia outbreak mainly due to influenza virus. During past few years country has experienced increased influenza like illness during months of May, June and July,” he said.
“Public are encouraged to take general personal hygienic measures to prevent spread of respiratory infections such as covering mouth and nose with a tissue, handkerchief while sneezing and coughing when having flu, washing hands with soap and water frequently, avoiding touching face, avoiding overcrowded public places specially when having flu and seeking medical attention for flu if in a high risk group or when feeling ill,” he said.
“For influenza like illness, children less than 2 years of age, pregnant or lactating mothers, anyone with chronic lung, heart or renal and other co-morbidities, elderly people are considered as high risk categories. It they develop flu like illness, they are advised to seek medical care without delay,” he added.