COLOMBO – In one of the worst-ever dengue attacks, as many as 225 people have been killed in Sri Lanka while over 76,000 have been infected this year.
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Sensing the severity of the situation, the government has deployed 400 soldiers and police officers on Tuesday to clear away rotting garbage, stagnant water pools and other potential mosquito-breeding grounds.
Colombo’s chief medical officer, Dr Ruwan Wijayamuni said people’s failure to clear puddles and piles of trash after last month’s heavy monsoon rains had compounded the problem.
“It’s pathetic that they don’t keep clean their environment,” Wijayamuni said.
“Some residents do not allow officials to inspect the houses and clean them. This is really unacceptable.” The number of infections nationwide is already 38.
Military spokesman Brig. Roshan Senevirathna claimed hospitals were so crowded with dengue patients, the army was building two temporary wards at Negombo Base Hospital, about 38 kilometres north of Colombo,
The number of infections nationwide is already 38 percent higher than last year, when 55,150 people were diagnosed with dengue and 97 died, according to the Health Ministry.
The highest number of cases is in the region around the main city of Colombo, though cases were being reported across the tropical island nation.
“This is mostly an urban disease,” said Dr Priscilla Samaraweera of the National Dengue Eradication Unit.
In Colombo alone, 25 teams of soldiers, police officers and public health inspectors were campaigning door to door to clear clogged drains and empty outdoor pots that might have filled with rainwater.
President Maithripala Sirisena urged the public to cooperate with officials trying to fight the disease, saying it could affect the “lives of all the citizens of the country.”