Sri Lanka prepares to face flood-borne epidemics

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 13, 2011 15:24

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka  — Sri Lanka hospitalized pregnant women and young children to shield them from waterborne diseases in districts where floods have brought sewage into the streets, a health official said Thursday.

Days of heavy rain have triggered widespread floods and mudslides, mainly in the island's Eastern Province. Five more deaths were reported Thursday, bringing the toll to 23, Pradeep Kodippili of the Disaster Management Center said. One person is reported missing and 36 others wounded.

Amid the floods, sewage lines and tanks have overflowed in many villages, and Health Ministry spokesman Dharma Wanninayake said officials are concerned about diseases like typhoid and diarrhea.

He said doctors working in affected areas have been asked to hospitalize women who are nearly nine months pregnant and children under 5 years old.

The measure will help slow infection rates and allow the most vulnerable to be treated quickly, he said.


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