IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency

13/01/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 13/01/2021 17:22

New National Centre to Boost Sri Lanka's Defence against Vector-Borne Diseases

Emerging and re-emerging diseases transmitted by vectors - most commonly, mosquitoes - pose growing threats to the people and livestock of Sri Lanka. To help control vectors and strengthen Sri Lanka's defence against the diseases they carry, the IAEA in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have completed a four-year technical cooperation project to help local authorities establish a national centre, as a first step towards more effective control of vector-borne diseases. The National Centre for Research, Training and Services in Medical and Molecular Entomology for Vector-Borne Disease Control will facilitate the development and use of the sterile insect technique (SIT) for more efficient suppression of mosquito vector populations.

'Vector-borne diseases, like malaria and lymphatic filariasis, have been eliminated from Sri Lanka, but there is a risk of both diseases re-emerging,' said Menaka Hapugoda, Professor in Molecular Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. 'The presence of cases of imported malaria remains a challenge: when mosquitoes bite a returning traveller who is infected, they can carry and spread the disease to people living in areas that used to be malaria-infected.'