Cholera outbreak feared
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Following the detection of four suspected cholera cases, including a 11 year old boy, in Erukalampitty Welfare centre in Mannar, local health officials said they are taking immediate steps to prevent the disease being spread further, but are apprehensive.
The decision to prepare for an outbreak was taken at a meeting yesterday which was chaired by the Mannar Divisional Secretary (DS) Miss. Kanapathipillai.
The Medical Officer of Health (MOH), Mannar, Dr. M. Kathirkamanathan, Additional Government Agent V. Visvalingam, Special Commissioner Mr. Edward and Public Health Inspector (PHI) attended the meeting.
"It is not enough that we take necessary preventive measures in the Mannar area, it is important to control the disease and prevent it from spreading to other areas, including those not under the control of Sri Lankan Government. There are a large number of displaced people in such areas and if the decease start spreading there we will not be in position to control and this could lead to many deaths" said the DS.
Two days ago, following advice from health officers about an outbreak of cholera in Vavuniya, the Government Agent of Mannar Mr. S.M.Croose, imposed an immediate ban on traveling between the towns. However, the ban was lifted yesterday.
The ban had been prompted by the detection of cholera in patient admitted to Mannar hospital on Monday.
The patient is said to have visited an area of the Vanni which is not controlled by the Sri Lankan Army. The patient, according to the Mannar health officials, had stayed at a lodge for ten days and it is believed he contracted the disease in that period.
A large number of displaced persons are currently staying in various refugee camps in Mannar. Health officials say they are concerned about cholera breaking out and spreading rapidly in the overcrowded camps. "If it starts spreading and it's not detected promptly, we could have a crisis in a matter of days" said one.