Death toll of dengue victims in Sri Lanka rises to 301

Death toll of dengue victims in Sri Lanka rises to 301


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

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

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 of 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 rain-soaked 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 outbreak, providing 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 identify and clean sites where mosquitoes are breeding.