Malaria in Ceylon

  • Vincent B. Wigglesworth


Malaria has been prevalent in Ceylon for many centuries. As long ago as 1638 a map of the island, published by the Dutch, showed great areas, particularly the North-Central Province, depopulated by ‘fever sickness’. These depopulated regions were the site of the ancient civilization of Ceylon; and there can be little doubt that malaria played a part in the ruin of that civilization. But today we can only speculate whether, as some believe, the importation of malaria from India was the primary factor in that decay, or whether the repeated Tamil invasions so disorganized the elaborate system of irrigation and agriculture developed by the Sinhalese as to create everywhere breeding places for Anopheles mosquitoes, and cause such general poverty and distress, that malaria which existed previously in manageable proportions became an insupportable disease.


Medical Department Malaria Incidence Anopheles Mosquito Spleen Rate Dense Crowd 
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Copyright information

© V. B. Wigglesworth 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent B. Wigglesworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Agricultural Research Council Unit of Insect PhysiologyUniversity of CambridgeUSA

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