Colombo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Dengue fever has broken out in Sri Lanka killing 146 people and infecting more than 10,000 people. About 35 per cent of the dead are housewives; 22 per cent children. The most affected areas are Colombo, Kandy, Matale, Gampaha, Kalutara, Matale and Kegalle. Health Ministry spokesman W.M.D. Wanninayake said that new initiatives would be taken to counter the epidemic in the rural population.
Despite preventive measures taken months ago, the number of deaths is expected to grow from 85.
A combined programme with the assistance of the Ministries of Health, Local Government and Provincial Councils, Education, Police and the Civil Defence Force personnel has also put in place to detect residents who fail to comply with orders issued by medical and public health officers (pictured, prevention brochures being handed out).
Dengue fever is a disease transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that proliferate in swamps and marshland.
Under Sri Lankan law local communities are responsible for the destruction of mosquito breeding grounds and keep the surrounding areas clean, but there is no enforcement process that would allow the authorities to pursue anyone for negligence.