Influenza outbreak in South under control, samples sent to Hong Kong - Dr. Jasinghe

Health Services DG, Dr. Anil Jasinghe

People should not panic over the acute respiratory infection (Influenza). It is now under control.

Samples had been sent to Hong Kong for further investigations, Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe told the Daily News yesterday.

Dr. Jasinghe said the number of patients seeking medical treatment has decreased now, compared with the recent past. All possible measures to control the spread of the disease has been taken by health staff of the Karapitiya Teaching hospital and the Matara General Hospital.

Adequate amounts of anti- viral drugs (Tamiflu (Oseltamivir)), medical equipment (ten nasal high flow oxygen machines) and personal protective equipment are available at the relevant hospitals. Visitors to those hospitals have been restricted.

Health authorities experienced an increased number of pneumonia cases among children in Matara and Galle districts in the past month. At the moment around 600 patients are receiving treatment.

According to laboratory findings, there is evidence to suggest an outbreak of pneumonia mainly due to the influenza virus. During the past few years, the country has experienced increased influenza like illnesses during May, June and July, he said.

If a child has flu like illness, we advise not to send them to pre-schools, schools or tuition classes. For influenza like illness, children less than two years, pregnant or lactating mothers, anyone with chronic lung, heart or renal and other co-morbidities, elderly people are considered as high risk categories. It they develop flu like illness, they are advised to seek medical care without delay, he said.

Public are encouraged to take general personal hygienic measures to prevent the spread of respiratory infections such as covering mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief while sneezing and coughing when having flu, washing hands with soap and water frequently, avoiding touching face, avoiding overcrowded public places specially when having ‘flu’ and seeking medical attention for ‘flu’ if in a high risk group or when feeling ill, he added.


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