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Unprecedented Rise in Influenza Cases and Increasing Dengue Threat Amid Torrential Rains in Sri Lanka

With torrential rains sweeping across Sri Lanka, health experts are raising alarm bells over a spike in seasonal diseases, including dengue, leptospirosis, diarrheal diseases, and influenza.

“The onset of the rainy season dramatically increases the risk of several serious illnesses,” experts warned.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Dr. LakKumar Fernando highlighted, “Dengue fever remains a significant threat during this time. With increased rainfall, we see a rise in stagnant water, which serves as a breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes. It’s crucial for the public to eliminate standing water around their homes and use mosquito repellents.”

Dr. Fernando also mentioned an unprecedented rise in influenza cases over the past few weeks.

Further, leptospirosis, commonly known as ‘rat fever,’ is another pressing concern. “Flooded areas can become contaminated with the urine of infected animals, leading to the spread of leptospirosis,” a senior health official explained.

“As such, people working in waterlogged conditions should wear protective clothing and seek medical advice if they experience symptoms such as fever, headache, and muscle pain,” the expert pointed out.

Meanwhile, Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) consultant pediatrician Dr. Deepal Perera cautioned about waterborne diseases. “The incidence of diarrheal diseases increases during the monsoon due to contaminated water sources. Ensuring access to clean drinking water and maintaining good hygiene practices are critical,” he underscored.

In addition, respiratory infections tend to spike with increased humidity and damp conditions. “We often see a rise in cases of the common cold, influenza, and asthma exacerbations during the rainy season. It’s important to stay warm and dry, and seek medical attention for persistent respiratory symptoms,” Dr. Perera advised.

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