Death toll of dengue victims rises to 301, over 105,000 affected

The number of dengue cases has gone up to 105,000 in Sri Lanka with over 301 deaths, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society said.

The Red Cross said that it is rapidly scaling up emergency assistance to help contain one of the country’s worst-ever outbreak of dengue in recent times, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The number of cases this year is already nearly double the number of dengue infections recorded in all of 2016, when 55,150 people were diagnosed with the disease.

“Dengue is endemic here, but one reason for the dramatic rise in cases is that the virus currently spreading has evolved and people lack the immunity to fight off the new strain,” Dr Novil Wijesekara, from the Health Department at the Sri Lanka Red Cross said in a statement.

Compounding the crisis, recent monsoon rains and floods have left pools of stagnant water and rotting rainsoaked trash, which have been ideal breeding sites for mosquitoes. Ongoing downpours and worsening sanitation conditions raise concerns the disease will continue to spread.

Teams of Sri Lanka Red Cross volunteers have been supporting a large-scale government effort to stem the outbreakproviding patient care at hospitals and going door-to-door with public health inspectors to raise awareness about the disease, its symptoms and how to prevent its spread.

Volunteers have also been helping authorities to identify and clean sites where mosquitoes are breeding. (Colombo Gazette)