Written by Staff Writer
14 Feb, 2019 | 4:51 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – For the first time since the country was declared to be malaria-free, a malaria patient has been found in the country.
Director of the National Malaria eradication programme, Dr Hemantha Herath said that this was confirmed after the infected blood samples were sent for tests to the Singapore National Research Institute.
Two cases of malaria were reported in Siyambalanduwa last December(2018). One of the infected was an Indian national working at a construction site of a sugar factory in Siyambalanduwa. The other patient a 45-year-old Sri Lankan resident of Meegoda was also working at the same construction site. Doctors suspected that the Sri Lankan was infected by the Indian national.
Consequently, the blood samples of the two patients were sent to the Singapore National Research Institute for tests and the doctors’ suspicions proved to be correct as the parasite in both blood samples were the same.
Generally, people contract malaria after being bitten by an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Only an Anopheles mosquito can transmit malaria and it must be infected with a parasite through a previous blood meal taken from an infected person.
Sri Lanka reported its last case of Malaria in 2012. The World Health Organization declared Sri Lanka as a Malaria free country in 2016. With cases of malaria reported in the country, it is possible for WHO to revoke the ‘malaria-free’ certificate.
Two other malaria cases have been already reported in 2019. One of the patients is from Colombo while the other is from Kegalle.
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