14 September 2012 | EN
[COLOMBO] Malaria incidence in Sri Lanka has declined sharply since 1999, with zero indigenous deaths reported since 2008, say researchers.
In a paper published last month (29 August) in the online, open-access journal, Public Library of Science One (PLoS One), researchers said malaria eradication drives have succeeded in making Sri Lanka a ‘low endemic country’ for the mosquito-borne disease.
According to the paper, during 1999–2011, Sri Lanka achieved 99.9 per cent reduction in infections, and attributed the success to such measures as indoor residual spraying and the distribution of insecticide-treated nets.
The paper, however, highlighted a substantial increase in the proportion of malaria cases in adult males, a trend linked to the higher level of exposure to infected vectors by those working in gem mines and remote jungle areas with no access to medical treatment or preventive measures.
Sri Lanka’s anti-malaria campaign director, S. L. Deniyage, said that the country is poised to achieve malaria eradication by late 2014.
Deniyage told SciDev.Net that the main threat of infections to Sri Lanka is from persons travelling abroad to places like Tamil Nadu state in India, Haiti, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda. Sudan.
Sri Lanka's success, Deniyage said, was due to a "strong passive case detection system with enough focus on malaria diagnosis and treatment. In addition, there is sound vector control and well-maintained surveillance measures." .....