June 30, 2009 / 3:53 PM / 10 years ago

Mosquito repellent firm in dock for mosquito breeding

Health workers walk through a cloud of insecticide after spraying the lobby area of an office building in downtown Singapore July 4, 1998. REUTERS/John Pryke

COLOMBO (Reuters) - A Sri Lankan court threatened a mosquito repellent factory manager with six months in jail for failing to destroy mosquito breeding areas on company premises to stop the spread of dengue fever, an official said Tuesday.

The Indian Ocean island nation is battling an outbreak of the mosquito-borne viral infection that has killed more than 150 people this year and infected 13,479 people, according to Health Ministry figures.

“The court fined the superintendent of a mosquito coil company for failing to destroy mosquito breeding places after we found larvae in several empty cans inside the premises,” said Rohana De Silva, Attagalla public health inspector.

The court Monday fined the superintendent 1,500 rupees ($13) and imposed a suspended sentence of six months hard labor, which can be reinstated if the company does not keep its premises free of breeding grounds, De Silva said.

To fight the spread of dengue, police and health officials have started a campaign to destroy mosquito breeding grounds through insecticide spraying and the removal of standing fresh water from public and private property.

Those who do not comply face fines and punishments including imprisonment.

Sri Lanka’s public health infrastructure and services suffered during a quarter-century war with Tamil Tiger separatists, when the health budget was cut to help bear the cost of fighting. The government declared victory on May 18.

Editing by Bryson Hull

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