Malaria raising its head again

by Don Asoka Wijewardena

Malaria Control Unit (MCU) Director Dr. Sarath Deniyage on Thursday warned that though Sri Lanka had successfully controlled Malaria, it was of late resurfacing in the Northern Province, especially in the Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Jaffna and Vavuniya districts.

Reluctance to obtain timely medical attention, indifference to destroying possible mosquito breeding grounds and an influx of tourists to the country without going through medical checks were considered possible factors, he told a media conference on World Malaria Day, April 25, at the National Blood Centre auditorium in Narahenpita.

Dr. Deniyage said that Malaria was a serious health problem in most countries with nearly one million deaths, mostly of children under five years. Millions of people in the world were at risk of contracting malaria.

He pointed out that Malaria could be transmitted from an infected person to a healthy person by a mosquito bite. Only mosquitoes of Genus Anopheles could spread the disease. Two kinds of Malaria parasites called, plasmodium Falciperum and plasmodium vivex were mainly responsible for causing Malaria.

Dr. Deniyage added that the most common symptoms of Malaria were fever, headache, vomiting, body-ache and general weakness. Complications such as cerebral malaria, shock, miscarriage in pregnant women, anaemia and kidney failure might develop if malaria was not diagnosed promptly and treated with the correct drugs in appropriate doses.

Dr. (Ms.) G. Galappathi said that it was extremely important to take measures to protect oneself from malaria during travel abroad. People were supposed to take tablets that could protect them from malaria and use other precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

She said that the treatment necessary to protect oneself from Malaria and advice regarding precautions could be obtained free of charge from the Anti-Malaria Campaign headquarters.

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