Severe dengue epidemic, Sri Lanka, 2017

Hasitha A. Tissera, Bernard D.W. Jayamanne, Rajendra Raut, Sakunthala M.D. Janaki, Yesim Tozan, Preshila C. Samaraweera, Prasad Liyanage, Azhar Ghouse, Chaturaka Rodrigo, Aravinda M. de Silva, Sumadhya D. Fernando

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In 2017, a dengue epidemic of unexpected magnitude occurred in Sri Lanka. A total of 186,101 suspected cases and 440 dengue-related deaths occurred. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of this epidemic by comparing national surveillance data for 2017 with data from the preceding 5 years. In all Sri Lanka districts, dengue incidence in 2017 increased significantly over incidence during the previous 5 years. Older schoolchildren and young adults were more clinically symptomatic than those at extremes of age. Limited virologic surveillance showed the dominant circulating variant was dengue virus type 2 cosmopolitan genotype in the most affected district. One quarter of total annual cases were reported 5 weeks after the southwest monsoon started. Changes in vector abundance were not predictive of the increased incidence. Direct government expenditures on dengue control activities in 2017 were US $12.7 million. The lessons learned from this outbreak are useful for other tropical nations facing increasing dengue incidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-691
Number of pages10
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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