Ministerial task force formed to combat dengue outbreak

A ministerial task force was convened today to formulate a national level response to a dengue outbreak across the Maldives.

An 18-year-old pregnant Maldivian woman and a migrant worker died of dengue fever in the past week while the Health Protection Agency (HPA) warned of an increase in the incidence of the mosquito-borne disease.

The government began mosquito fogging in Malé and the atolls this morning.

Some 374 cases of dengue has been reported so far this year, of which 125 were reported from Malé and 112 were reported in June.

Health minister Iruthisham Adam, home minister Umar Naseer, and defence minister Moosa Ali Jaleel attended the high-level meeting today along with a number of senior government officials, police officers, and officials from the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).

The health minister said mosquito fogging will take place in the capital and affected atolls for the next seven days. The ministry is also cleaning out mosquito breeding sites in collaboration with the housing ministry, environment ministry, home ministry, and the security services.

Last year, the health ministry said dengue fever has become endemic in the Maldives since 2004 with annual outbreaks.

A relatively severe outbreak of dengue in 2011 saw a record high 12 fatalities.

A total of 1,083 dengue cases were reported in the Maldives in 2012. The HPA has previously said that construction workers face an increased risk.