7/01/2009

Health authorities on high alert to control spread of communicable diseases in refugee camps in Sri Lanka



Due to fear of dangerous outbreaks of communicable diseases in crowded Tamil refugee camps northern Sri Lanka, surveillance by the Ministry of Health staff has been strengthened. The greatest disease outbreak reported so far was chickenpox, with more than 12,000 cases, but those numbers had since been decreasing, a UN report say. Medical officers working with the displaced suspect that most of the chickenpox patients contracted the disease before they arrived in camps.

The number of new cases reported is steadily declining and admissions to hospitals are 40–50 patients per day, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs confirmed on 19 June.

“In Vavuniya, the number of Hepatitis A cases is also declining. A total of 2,139 cases were reported as at 12 June,” the report added.

Until 18 June, 1,060 cases of dysentery and more than 5,000 cases of diarrhoea had been reported from the camps,the UN says.

Until 19 June, only 29 cases of malaria had been reported, but health officials initiated a high alert when two cases were reported on 18 June from zone 4 in Menik Farm.





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