Dont ignore intermittent fever, headache....

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Anti-Malaria Campaign yesterday urged those developing intermittent fever, headache and abdominal pain, to get timely medical attention as it could be malaria.

Anti-Malaria campaign Director Dr. R. Premachandra pointed out that though Sri Lanka was free from Malaria there was an onslaught at the moment and it was beginning to raise its ugly head once again. Even some doctors were misdiagnosing patients who had developed fever due to Malaria, he said at a media conference yesterday on account of the World Malaria Day, which falls today.

Dr. Premachandra told the conference held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute that Malaria had become a forgotten disease among doctors and health care staff and therefore patients risked a delayed diagnosis which increased the chances of spreading the disease to others. People living in Sri Lanka had lost immunity, because the disease was no more, which made the people more prone to Malaria epidemics if the disease returned.

Director General Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala said that there were increasing numbers of Malaria-infected persons entering Sri Lanka from highly Malarious countries, which could introduce Malaria back into the country if the people were not vigilant. The neighbouring countries were not only Malarious but some harbours had become dangerous to drug-resistant malaria.

He pointed out that though there was no malaria parasite being transmitted in the country, the mosquito vector which carried it was present. It was highly prevalent in the dry and intermediate zones. Thus the threat of Malaria being re-introduced to, and re-established in the country was high. Keeping Sri Lanka free from Malaria for over a year was a national achievement that very few countries in this part of the world, and indeed in the tropics, had succeeded in. Sri Lanka needed to strive much further to prevent the disease returning, and to continue to keep the country free from Malaria in the future.

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