The Department of Parasitology has a well-established research programme on helminthology, begun from as early as the 1950s. Much work has been done on lymphatic filariasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. The research findings of these studies initiated by world renowned parasitologists such as Professor Mahroof Ismail and Professor Stanley Dissanaike made a significant impact on national as well as international health policies in relation to control of both groups of infections.
The most significant body of work that Prof. Ismail and his collaborators produced was to demonstrate for the first time that albendazole combined with diethylcarbamazine citrate or ivermectin has a pronounced and sustained effect of reducing microfilaraemia for over two years. This combination is currently being successfully used by the WHO and the Ministries of Health in 83 endemic countries as part of the global strategy to eliminate filariasis.
In addition, the work related to soil transmitted helminthiasis enabled national policies to be operational regarding the replacement of the three day regime of mebendazole with a single dose of 500mg which was shown to ensure greater compliance. Bi-annual treatment of children in the plantation sector successfully reduced the prevalence of soil transmitted helminths in Sri Lanka.
Currently, studies on lymphatic filariasis and soil transmitted helminthiases are continuing in the Department with research findings being published in recognized indexed journals both internationally and locally.
List of Publications
1956 to 1979, 1980 to 2000, 2000 to date