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Dengue fever cases rise to 24,001 in Sri Lanka
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The number of Dengue cases has risen to 24,001 while 240 people have died of the disease in Sri Lanka so far, the Epidemiological Unit of the Health Ministry said on Monday.

The Epidemiological Unit said in its latest statistics that of the 24,001 cases, the highest number of patients were reported from June totaling 7,048. It is followed by July with 6,843 cases being reported.

This represents a sharp increase as 4,156 Dengue cases and 85 deaths were reported for the whole year of 2008.

Health officials said the majority of these cases have been reported from the areas of Gampaha, Kegalle, Kandy and Colombo.

The rapid rise in the level of the epidemic has forced the health authorities to carry out extensive public awareness campaign to eradicate the mosquito based epidemic.

Households have been warned to keep the environment free of mosquitoes. Those who allow the mosquitoes to breed by allowing stagnating water face prosecution with a special hotline being made available for public information.

The World Health Organization says some 2.5 billion people, two fifths of the world's population, are now at risk from Dengue and estimates that there may be 50 million cases of dengue infection worldwide every year.

(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2009)

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