Sri Lanka dengue outbreak kills nearly 300 people so far
According to health officials on Monday, a dengue outbreak in Sri Lanka killed nearly 300 people so far and hospitals are stretched to capacity, Reuters reported.
Health officials blame recent monsoon rains and floods leaving pools of stagnant water and rotting rain-soaked trash which is perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying the virus, the report said.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are escalating emergency aid to Sri Lanka with the Sri Lanka Red Cross to help control the outbreak.
“Dengue patients are streaming into overcrowded hospitals that are stretched beyond capacity and struggling to cope, particularly in the country’s hardest hit western province,” Red Cross and Red Crescent said in a statement.
Dengue is one of the world’s fastest developing diseases, native in 100 countries with nearly 390 million reported infections yearly, according to the World Health Organization. When infections are severe, early detection and treatment are critical to survival, especially amongst children.
The Sri Lankan government is fighting to contain the virus which causes flu-like symptoms and can advance into the hemorrhagic dengue fever, the report said.
The Ministry of Health said the number of cases has risen to more than 100,000 since the beginning of 2017 with 296 reported deaths.
“Ongoing downpours and worsening sanitation conditions raise concerns the disease will continue to spread,” Red Cross and Red Crescent said.
The Red Cross and Red Crescent’s aid comes a week after Australia announced programs to help contain the disease in Sri Lanka, the report said.
“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,” Head of Health at the Sri Lanka Red Cross Novil Wijesekara said in a statement.
— WN.com, Jubilee Baez
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