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* Task force to control dengue epidemic in Sri Lanka
Thu, Mar 4, 2010, 10:17 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka Minister of Healthcare an Nutrition Nimal Sripala de Silva today received the Cabinet's approval to appoint members for a National Task Force to control the fast spreading dengue epidemic in the country.

The Task Force is aimed at strengthening the inter-sectoral co-ordination and social mobilization at National Level.

Alarmed by the increasing rate of the mosquito-borne disease, the Ministry has taken measures to educate the public and control the breeding grounds of the dengue mosquito.

According to the health authorities getting the country to eliminate and destroy dengue mosquito breeding places is the most effective measure for dengue control.

Unplanned urbanization, lack of infrastructure improvement and poor waste management systems are some factors that have contributed to abundant man-made mosquito breeding places which has resulted in outbreaks of dengue fever in an unprecedented manner.

Since there are many stakeholder and partners responsible for keeping the environment free from dengue mosquito breeding places, the Ministry says it has planned to establish a National Task Force with the aim of promoting environmental management through the collaboration of relevant ministries, departments and organizations.

The Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry data shows the number of cases have rapidly risen to 8,652 cases and 46 deaths so far this year, 4,608 in January and 4,044 in February.

Sri Lanka experienced the largest epidemic of dengue fever in the history with 34,896 patient and 345 deaths reported in year 2009.

However, this year the numbers may be much higher if the present rate of the epidemic continues. In 2009 only 2,227 cases have been reported during the first two months of the year.

The Ministry says the disease, though prevalent in Sri Lanka since 1962, was mostly concentrated in urban areas but now has spread to semi-urban and rural areas and become a significant public health problem in the country.

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