Is Malaria making a comeback in Sri Lanka?

Is Malaria making a comeback in Sri Lanka?

Written by Staff Writer

09 Jan, 2019 | 10:15 pm

Colombo (News1st): Sri Lanka was successful in eradicating Malaria, which was once an epidemic in the country in 2016. However, after only two years of being declared free from Malaria, the disease has begun raising its head in the country again.

Two cases of malaria were reported from Siyambalanduwa recently. One of the patients was an Indian national who was working at a construction site of a private sugar factory in Athimale, Siyambalanduwa.

The other patient is a 45-year-old Sri Lankan national, a resident of Meegoda working at the same sugar factory. Physicians suspect that the Sri Lankan had contracted the disease from the aforementioned Indian national. Residents also allege the disease has been spread by Indian labourers.

The Director of the National Malaria Prevention Unit, Dr. Hemantha Herath says, blood samples of those who have been diagnosed with Malaria in the Siyambalanduwa area, have been sent to the National Research Agency in Singapore in order to ascertain whether or not the patients had contracted the disease in Sri Lanka.

A person contracts Malaria through the sting of an infective female Anopheles mosquito. The Malaria parasite then enters the bloodstream. The disease spreads when an infective mosquito stings a healthy individual or when a non-infective mosquito stings an infected individual and passed the paracite to another host.

36 cases of Malaria were recorded in 2016, which was the year Sri Lanka eradicated the disease. While 57 cases of Malaria were recorded in 2017, 48 cases were recorded in 2018. Included in these are Sri Lankans who had contracted the disease, while in foreign countries and foreign visitors. Yearly, around 400,000 Malaria-related deaths are reported worldwide.

Director of the National Malaria Prevention Unit, Dr. Hemantha Herath described the disease as one which creates a negative socio-economic impact in our country. He added that even though Sri Lanka is free of the parasite, it is a very tedious task to eradicate it.

Medical experts stress that it is of paramount importance to focus on preventing the spread of Malaria. Dr. Herath noted that malaria is a disease which affects the entire body, mainly the blood circulatory system, the liver, and the nervous system.

He noted a possible outcome of having the disease is death. He added that several ailments persist for months and eventually the ability of the infected person to even complete his day to day activities becomes harder.

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