By Nirmala Kannangara
Although regional health authorities in flood affected areas are geared to control possible communicable disease outbreaks following the ravaged floods, they are of the view that it would be difficult to handle such a situation, unless the required medicines are provided to them immediately.
Health Services Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva told The Sunday Leader that several medical clinics were held in most of the flood affected areas over the past few days and added that the Health Ministry has instructed the regional health authorities to be ready to prevent any outbreak of communicable diseases. “Up to now other than the reported skin diseases there is no major communicable disease outbreak, and we believe the situation is under control,” he said.
However, the Meteorology Department has forecast that the South Western monsoonal rains are due predicting that minor floods could be expected. “Although we do not expect heavy rains still there could be minor floods in south western parts of the country due to the dampness in the soil,” Director General Meteorology Department G.B. Samarasinghe told The Sunday Leader.
The Epidemiology Unit of the Colombo National Hospital further warned the general public that Hepatitis ‘A’, Typhoid fever, diarrhoea and many more communicable disease outbreaks could be expected with the receding of flood water and have warned people to refrain from consuming contaminated water. “Most of the cesspits and garbage dumping sites were under water for several days and germs and viruses have seeped into drinking water sources.
This is a dangerous situation and this would certainly lead to water borne diseases. The general public is warned to use boiled water for drinking purposes and to consume cooked meals,” Consultant Epidemiologist Dr. Anura Jayasinghe told The Sunday Leader. Dr. Jayasinghe further said that dengue and chikungunya epidemics too could be expected in the next few months unless successful mosquito combat programmes are held all over the country.
Meanwhile Director Epidemiology Unit Dr. Pabha Palihawadana told The Sunday Leader that the skin diseases that have spread among the flood victims mainly in the Gampaha District was not a communicable illness but added that early treatment would prevent the disease from spreading all over the body.