May 23, Colombo: Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe has said the Influenza virus spreading in the South has been fully controlled.
He has said that only seven persons have died from the Influenza virus so far and all media reports claiming a higher number of deaths are wrong.
"People do not need to panic and the disease is at a controllable level," he said yesterday addressing a press conference held at the Government Information Department Auditorium in Colombo.
"There is no increase in the disease. The spread of the disease within hospitals has been fully controlled. Only about 500 to 600 patients receive medical treatment at the moment," Dr. Jasinghe said.
According to the official, adequate amounts of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu had been provided to all the required hospitals, while high flow oxygen equipment including nasal cannulas have been sent to Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, Matara Hospital and the Kamburupitiya Hospital to expedite treatment for children. Face masks have been provided for health staff.
The Karapitiya Teaching Hospital Director has been authorized to purchase more high flow oxygen nasal cannulas. Over 1,000 posters have been distributed through Medical Officers of Health (MOHs) and regional/provincial institution network in order to educate the public by displaying them in public places.
The official said he speaks with the hospital authorities and monitors the situation in the morning and evening daily.
Consultant Epidemiologist Dr. Samitha Ginige said complications are reported from child patients below two years of age and the most serious complication is pneumonia. However, there are a lot of causes for pneumonia and Influenza is only one of them. There is a slight increase in Influenza patients from all parts of the country.
According to Dr. Ginige persons in high risk groups such as children under two, pregnant mothers, lactating mothers, elders above 65, persons who suffer from other chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney diseases, heart diseases, respiratory diseases and have weak immunity should seek medical treatment and follow medical advice.
Dr. Ginige advised the patients with flu like symptoms to consume more liquid, keep themselves away from other family members, avoid crowded places and keep a good personal hygiene as droplets can spread the virus within one meter.
MRI's Consultant Virologist Dr. Jude Jayamaha said the MRI had used the PCR test to examine several phlegm samples and many of them were positive for Influenza A.