Australia helps Sri Lanka as dengue toll hits 250

July 19, 2017

Australia will join Sri Lanka in its war on dengue fever, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Wednesday, as the virus has claimed a record 250 lives and infected nearly 100,000 people in the South Asian country this year.

Sri Lanka has deployed hundreds of troops to destroy mosquito breeding grounds as it battles to control the spread of the mosquito-borne virus, which has been unprecedented and caught authorities off guard.

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.

Official figures show about 250 deaths so far this year compared to 78 for the whole of last year, when only about 55,000 infections were reported.

Bishop said Canberra would provide AUS$500,000 (US$400,000) to fund the World Health Organization's dengue prevention and control measures in Sri Lanka.

It would also fund a AUS$1 million research partnership between Australia's Monash University and Sri Lanka's health ministry.

She said Sri Lanka could benefit from Monash University's groundbreaking research to trial the introduction of naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria to Sri Lanka's mosquito populations.

"It prevents the from being transmitted between people," she said. "It also has the ability to block other such as zika and chikumgunya."

Bishop made the announcement after talks with her Sri Lankan counterpart Ravi Karunanayake.

Authorities have blamed a garbage disposal crisis in Colombo for the unusually large infections.

The country's main rubbish tip collapsed in April, crushing dozens of homes and killing 32 people.

Stagnant water left behind after last month's flooding was also seen as contributing to the spread of dengue.

Explore further: Sri Lanka blames garbage pile-up for record dengue toll

Related Stories

Sri Lanka blames garbage pile-up for record dengue toll

June 26, 2017
Sri Lanka has suffered a record 200 deaths from dengue fever this year, the health minister said Monday, blaming a garbage disposal crisis in Colombo.

Sri Lanka's worst-ever dengue outbreak kills 225

July 4, 2017
Sri Lanka is suffering its worst-ever dengue outbreak, with the mosquito-borne virus killing 225 people and infecting more than 76,000 this year.

Mosquitoes infected with virus-suppressing bacteria could help control dengue fever

May 30, 2017
Mosquitos infected with the bacteria Wolbachia are significantly worse vectors for dengue virus, but how to establish and spread Wolbachia in an urban mosquito population is unclear. A study publishing on 30th May 2017 in ...

WHO declares Sri Lanka free of malaria (Update)

September 5, 2016
The World Health Organization has certified Sri Lanka free of malaria, the second country in the region to earn the distinction after the Maldives, the health ministry said Tuesday.

Singapore expects Zika to spread as cases surpass 250

September 5, 2016
The number of cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in Singapore reached 258 Monday, with health authorities warning it is no longer contained in one part of the city-state and likely to spread further.

Virus-resistant mosquitoes to be unleashed in Colombia, Brazil

October 26, 2016
Governments and philanthropists on Wednesday announced an $18 million plan to release mosquitoes resistant to Zika, dengue and other viruses in urban areas of Colombia and Brazil.

Recommended for you

Study traces hospital-acquired bloodstream infections to patients' own bodies

October 15, 2018
The most common source of a bloodstream infection acquired during a hospital stay is not a nurse's or doctor's dirty hands, or another patient's sneeze or visitor's cough, but the patient's own gut, Stanford University School ...

Researchers make essential imaging tests safer for people at risk of acute kidney injury

October 15, 2018
Every year, millions of people undergo medical tests and procedures, such as coronary angiography, which use intravascular contrast dyes. "For the majority of patients, these are safe and necessary procedures. However, about ...

Medical marijuana might help MS patients, but uncertainty remains

October 13, 2018
Medical products derived from marijuana might have a mild benefit in treating symptoms of multiple sclerosis, based on reports from patients.

Do not give decongestants to young children for common cold symptoms, say experts

October 11, 2018
Decongestants should not be given to children under 6—and given with caution in children under 12—as there is no evidence that they alleviate symptoms such as a blocked or runny nose, and their safety is unclear, say ...

New techniques can detect Lyme disease weeks before current tests

October 11, 2018
Researchers have developed techniques to detect Lyme disease bacteria weeks sooner than current tests, allowing patients to start treatment earlier.

Pneumonia-causing bacteria can be spread by nose picking and rubbing

October 11, 2018
Pneumonia-causing bacteria can be spread through picking and rubbing the nose, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.