Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health reported that as of Friday, July 7, 80,732 cases of dengue fever and at least 220 related deaths had been reported in the country since the beginning of the year. These numbers represent a significant jump in the annual number of cases when compared to 2016, when a total of 54,727 cases and 78 deaths were reported for the entire year. Health workers characterized the outbreak as an epidemic and indicated that Colombo and Gampaha were the most impacted areas.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease mostly found in urban and semi-urban areas. Symptoms of classic dengue fever include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and rash. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a potentially deadly complication that is characterized by high fever, enlargement of the liver, and hemorrhaging. No specific treatment or vaccine is currently available. Be aware that aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen) should be avoided as these drugs may worsen bleeding issues associated with the disease. Patients may be given doses of acetaminophen (paracetamol).
To minimize the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases, use insect repellent, wear covering clothing, and consider sleeping under mosquito netting if in high-risk areas. If you develop a high fever during or after travel in areas affected by dengue, seek immediate medical attention.