Volume 99, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The Sri Lankan Anti-Filariasis campaign distributed five rounds of mass drug administration (MDA with diethylcarbamazine plus albendazole) to some 10 million people in eight districts between 2002 and 2006. Sri Lanka was recognized by the WHO for having eliminated lymphatic filariasis (LF) as a public health problem in 2016. However, recent studies by our group documented pockets with persistent LF in coastal Sri Lanka, especially in Galle district. The present study was performed to reexamine an area previously identified as a potential hotspot for persistent LF (Balapitiya Public Health Inspector area, population 17,500). A community survey documented high rates for circulating filarial antigenemia (3%, confidence interval [CI]: 1.8–4.9) and microfilaremia (1%, CI: 0.5–2.5%). Circulating filarial antigenemia rates were 2.8-fold higher in males than females. High prevalence was also observed for anti-filarial antibodies in young children (5.7%, CI: 3.7–8.4%) and for filarial DNA in vector mosquitoes (5.2%, CI: 4.2–6.3%). Spatial data showed that persistent LF was dispersed across the entire study area. Other studies showed that persistent LF was not limited to Balapitiya and not solved by additional rounds of MDA. Molecular xenomonitoring studies conducted in 2016 in 22 of 168 Public Health Midwife areas in the coastal Galle evaluation unit (approximate population 600,000) found that 179 of 660 (27%) pools of collected from all areas were positive for DNA by quantitative polymerase chain reaction; the estimated infection rate in mosquitoes was 1.26%, CI: 1.0–1.5%. Interventions other than routine MDA will be required to remove LF hotspots in Balapitiya and in other areas in coastal Sri Lanka.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 26 Feb 2018
  • Accepted : 22 Apr 2018
  • Published online : 16 Jul 2018

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