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Dengue cases continue to rise

There had been a significant rise in the number of dengue cases reported during the first 10 weeks of 2017. The total number of cases exceeded 20,000, according to data obtained from the Epidemiology Unit, the Health Ministry said.

According to the data, 20,147 dengue cases were reported thus far in 2017 and most of them were from the Colombo District with 4,973, of which 1,203 were from the Colombo Municipal area.

Last year, the number of people who died due to dengue had also increased drastically. According to the data, the number of dengue deaths reported in 2016 had increased, by 37, to 91 as against the 54 reported in 2015. A total of 55,150 dengue cases had been reported in 2016, as opposed to 29,777 in 2015.

According to the National Dengue Control Unit consultant, community physician Dr. Preshila Samaraweera, the possible change of the nature of the dengue virus was likely to be a major reason for the rapid increase of dengue cases reported during the past year. She noted that the Dengue virus exists in four serotypes (Dengue 1–4).

Dr. Samaraweera explained that the Medical Research Institute (MRI) suspects that the strain of the dengue virus has undergone a change.