George Steuart Health (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of George Steuart & Co, as a part of its social responsibility drive launched “Mino Dengue Walakana Maga,” a campaign to educate the general public, teachers, parents and children on methods of eradicating the dengue menace. This programme was launched in association with the Dehiwala/Mt.Lavinia Municipal Council. The launch was deemed timely owing to the rapid spread of the disease around the island, specifically in the Western province.
According to the Epidemiology Unit, there have been 14,700 dengue cases reported up to June 2014 with 40 cases being fatal. Of this staggering number, 5,470 are from the Colombo district, mainly from the Colombo and Dehiwala/Mt.Lavinia Municipal Council areas. Gampaha has recorded 2,276 dengue cases, while the Kalutara district has 1,021 cases. Most of the effected patients are children.
Dengue is a disease caused by any one of the four closely related viruses (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4) that are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus then circulates in the blood leading to Dengue Fever or in severe cases Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. It’s now observed that the dengue mosquito is active around the clock. However they are more active during day time between 7 am to 10 am and 3 pm to 5.30 pm, when sunlight is low and the atmospheric temperature is relatively lower.
Dengue Fever symptoms appear within 5 to 6 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito and last for up to 1 to 2 days. The sudden onset of high fever, severe joint and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting, a skin rash appearing on the arms or legs 3 to 4 days after the onset of fever are some of the key denoting factors of the Dengue fever. Abnormal bleeding and very low blood pressure (shock) may occur in severe cases.
Health care professionals urge that early diagnosis is very important to prevent fatalities. It is recommended that on the first day of onset of fever, the NS1 Dengue Antigen blood test be done. This is a simple test that can be done at most of the hospitals and diagnostic laboratories and only takes a maximum of 20 minutes to obtain results. If the test is positive the patient needs to be admitted to a hospital immediately. The Centre for Clinical Management of Dengue & Dengue Haemorrhagic fever at the Negombo District General Hospital recommends this test as the best way to reduce the dengue fatality rate, since the test helps very early detection and also helps medical professionals treat the patient preventing any serious complications. George Steuart Health is the local sole agent for NS1 Dengue Antigen, which is manufactured by S.D. Diagnostic Laboratories, Korea.
The authorities also note that the most effective way to protect one’s self from the deadly Dengue mosquitoes is to use an effective mosquito repellent containing IR 3535. GS Health introduced Mino mosquito repellent for just this purpose. Mino is a product approved by the Ministry of Health and Registrar of Pesticides available in Sri Lanka in all leading supermarkets and pharmacies. Mino is made out of an active ingredient from MERCK Germany, known as IR3535 which is recommended by United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and World Health Organization. Mino is also DEET free, hence thereby making it safe and recommended to be used by anyone above the age of three.