COLOMBO, October 21 (Xinhua) – Seventy-four people have died and more than 55,000 people have been infected by dengue virus throughout Sri Lanka until the second week of October this year, the government's information department quoted the Epidemiology Unit as saying on Monday.
As of October 18, a total of 55,894 cases of dengue were reported, with the highest number of cases reported in the Colombo district which reached 11,854, Gampaha, on the outskirts of Colombo, with 8,976, and Kalutara, also on the outskirts of Colombo, with 5,456.
The Epidemiology Unit said it had identified five high-risk districts, including Colombo, Gampaha, Galle, Kalutara in the Western Province and Ratnapura in southern central Sri Lanka.
Medical experts said the number of deaths recorded so far this year was "alarming" because a total of 58 deaths were reported last year.
"Seventy-four dengue deaths are an alarming rate when it comes to a period of only 10 months. Overall last year, only 58 dengue deaths were reported," epidemiologists say.
Medical experts urge people to seek immediate medical attention if they suffer from high fever, uncontrolled vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness and decreased urination.
"All fever patients need to rest and must stop attending work or school," epidemiologists say, adding that dengue fever (DHF) can be fatal.
Medical experts further urge pregnant women to be hospitalized immediately on the first day of fever.
Last year, more than 48,000 people were affected by the mosquito-borne virus in Sri Lanka, with the National Dengue Fever Control Unit launched several programs to eradicate mosquito breeding sites in several districts in the island nation.