Dengue Outbreak Reaches 19,815 Cases in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka visitors are at risk from the ongoing Dengue Fever virus outbreak
resort pool overlooking the ocean in sri lanka
Sri Lanka (Vax Before Travel)

The Sri Lanka Ministry of Health has reported 3,771 cases of Dengue Fever during May 2019.  This unfortunate news increases the year-to-date total to 19,815 Dengue cases, and 28 related fatalities.

Severe dengue cases can quickly become life-threatening since there is no specific medication to treat dengue, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

However, according to a new study from New York University, Sri Lanka’s current Dengue outbreak would have been more extensive had the Ministry of Health not taken action in 2014. 

In June 2014, Sri Lanka initiated a proactive vector control program in partnership with military and police forces that targeted high-risk areas in the country. 

This action resulted in a more than 50-percent reduction in dengue, as well as substantial cost savings, concluded these researchers. 

These researchers analyze its cost-effectiveness on the $271,615 program. 

“Our study suggests that communities affected by dengue can benefit from investments in mosquito control if interventions are implemented rigorously and coordinated across sectors. Dengue is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, principally Aedes aegypti and secondarily Aedes albopictus,” said Prasad Liyanage of the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health and Umeå University in Sweden and the study’s lead author. 

“Even if a safe dengue vaccine becomes available in the future, mosquito control is likely to remain a key complementary strategy to curtail the continued spread and intensification of dengue,” said Liyanage in a press release. 

Dengue, an arbovirus infection with epidemic potential, has become a global public health problem, with the number of symptomatic infections estimated to have doubled every 10 years between 1990 and 2013. 

The disease places a major economic burden on endemic developing countries in tropical and sub-tropical regions, particularly during outbreaks. 

Dengue outbreaks during 2019 have been confirmed in these countries:

To alert visitors to Sri Lanka, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Canada and the UK update vaccination suggestions when visiting Sri Lanka.

The CDC suggests the MMR, Routine vaccines and certain other vaccines, depending upon your health history.

On May 1, 2019, the USA joined 20 other countries in approving the Dengvaxia vaccine, under certain situations. Dengvaxia is a live, attenuated vaccine that is administered as 3 separate injections, with the initial dose followed by two additional shots given six and twelve months later.

Pre-trip vaccine and medication reviews can be easily scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.

Additionally, the US Department of State and the Canadian and United Kingdom governments issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory for the country of Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019.

These Level 2 Advisories say groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka. And, visitors should ‘exercise increased caution.’

The US Embassy in Sri Lanka is located at 210 Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka, and the telephone number is +94 (11) 249-8500.

Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country of over 21 million residents located in the Indian Ocean. 

Article by
Dani Reiter