Sri Lanka de­ploys troops to tackle dengue cri­sis

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Sri Lanka de­ployed hun­dreds of sol­diers to de­stroy mos­quito breed­ing grounds as the coun­try bat­tles the spread of deadly dengue fever that has killed a record 215 peo­ple this year, of­fi­cials said yesterday. Hu­mid mon­soon weather, stag­nant wa­ter from re­cent flood­ing, as well as mount­ing piles of rot­ting garbage ac­cu­mu­lat­ing in the cap­i­tal, have com­bined to cre­ate abun­dant ar­eas for mos­qui­toes to mul­ti­ply.

This has caused rates of dengue, a trop­i­cal dis­ease that is spread by mos­qui­toes, to surge to over 71,000 peo­ple in­fected in the first six months of this year, a record fig­ure that far sur­passes last year’s to­tal of 55,000. Troops, backed by po­lice and health of­fi­cials, have launched an in­ten­sive cam­paign to iden­tify dengue hotspots to be sprayed with in­sec­ti­cides, the mil­i­tary said in a state­ment.

“Twenty five teams will sep­a­rately move into the worst-af­fected ar­eas in and around Colombo and search for dengue breed­ing spots and other vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas,” the state­ment said. The scale of the spread of the dis­ease has been un­prece­dented and caught Sri Lankan au­thor­i­ties off guard. Health min­istry of­fi­cials said the 215 deaths in the first six months of this year com­pared with 78 re­ported dur­ing the whole of 2016.

Au­thor­i­ties have blamed a garbage dis­posal cri­sis in Colombo for the spread of dengue. The coun­try’s main rub­bish tip col­lapsed in April, crush­ing dozens of homes and killing 32 peo­ple. With nowhere to take the trash, municipal col­lec­tion has dras­ti­cally slowed and led to huge piles on the streets which au­thor­i­ties say help mos­quito-breed­ing. Stag­nant wa­ter left be­hind af­ter last month’s flood­ing was also seen as con­tribut­ing to the spread of dengue.—AFP

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