Sri Lanka sounds alert over Zika, chikungunya

Colombo: Sri Lanka's main international airport and the Colombo Port have been placed on high alert to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and chikungunya, media reported on Sunday.

"The airport's health desks have been told to caution passengers travelling to the affected countries," Quarantine Director Palitha Karunaperuma was quoted as saying.

The Sri Lankan government said that the island nation faced a threat from the two deadly diseases, and that state hospitals were being geared to cope with these cases, Xinhua news agency reported.

The warnings over chikungunya and Zika were issued after two deaths were reported in Chilaw, 84 km away from Colombo, last week. The victims were admitted to the Chilaw state hospital suffering a high temperature. 

Both the patients had returned from India in the same week.

Increasing cases of Zika and chikungunya have been reported from many Asian countries, including Singapore, India and Thailand, and airlines operating in these countries have been told to exercise caution and report to health authorities if there were any sick passengers.