Rewriting the history of leishmaniasis in Sri Lanka: An untold story since 1904

Journal article


Nuwangi, H., Weerakoon, Kosala Gayan, Agampodi, Thilini Chanchala, Price, Helen Philippa, Dikomitis, Lisa and Agampodi, Suneth Buddhika 2022. Rewriting the history of leishmaniasis in Sri Lanka: An untold story since 1904. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 16 (12), p. e0010918. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0010918
AuthorsNuwangi, H., Weerakoon, Kosala Gayan, Agampodi, Thilini Chanchala, Price, Helen Philippa, Dikomitis, Lisa and Agampodi, Suneth Buddhika
AbstractLeishmaniasis is widely considered a disease that emerged in Sri Lanka in the 1990s. However, a comprehensive case report from 1904 suggests that the presence of Leishmaniasis was well demonstrated in Sri Lanka long before that. The Annual Administration Reports of Ceylon/Sri Lanka from 1895 to 1970 and the Ceylon Blue Book from 1821 to 1937 are official historical documents that provide an annual performance, progress, goals achieved, and finances of Sri Lanka during that time. Both these documents are available in the National Archives. The Ceylon Administrative Report of 1904 reports a full record of observation of Leishman-Donovan bodies in Sri Lanka for the first time. These reports contain a total of 33,438 cases of leishmaniasis in the years 1928 to 1938, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, and 1961 to 1962. Up to 1938, the term "cutaneous leishmaniasis" was used, and after 1938, the term "leishmaniasis" was used in these reports. "Kala-azar" was also mentioned in 11 administrative reports between 1900 and 1947. In 1947, an extensive vector study has been carried out where they reported kala-azar cases. This well-documented government health information clearly shows that the history of leishmaniasis is almost the same as the global history in which the first case with Leishman-Donovan bodies were reported in 1903. [Abstract copyright: Copyright: © 2022 Nuwangi et al. 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.]
KeywordsSri Lanka - epidemiology; Leishmaniasis; Leishmaniasis donovani; Disease surveillance ; Parasitology
Year2022
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Journal citation16 (12), p. e0010918
PublisherPLoS
ISSN1935-2735
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0010918
Official URLhttps://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0010918
Publication dates
Online08 Dec 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Jan 2023
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