Situation of Sri Lanka, where autochthonous malaria is no longer a problem, and other infections dominate, such as dengue, leptospirosis and rickettsioses

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Purpose of review

Sri Lanka achieved a major milestone in communicable disease control in 2012 by reporting zero incidence of autochthonous malaria. However, reduction of malaria was associated with concurrent increase of several tropical diseases. This review looks into the time trends and epidemiology of these communicable diseases in Sri Lanka.

Recent findings

Reduction of malaria cases coincides with an increase of dengue, leptospirosis and rickettsioses in Sri Lanka. Although the case fatality rate of dengue has reduced and maintained below 1%, leptospirosis in clinical management is questionable. Despite having national focal points for control and prevention, these emerging diseases are completely out of control. Whether the holding back of vector control activities of malaria after a successful control programme is having an effect on emergence of other vector-borne diseases should be studied.


The communicable disease control programme in Sri Lanka should be further strengthened with availability of proper and rapid diagnostic facilities. Malaria control could not be considered as a great achievement due to the fact that other emerging infectious diseases are replacing malaria.

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