No new cases of filariasis have been detected since 24 December 2023, despite extensive screenings of over 778 individuals, including 567 migrant workers and 211 locals, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has reported.

Filariasis, a parasitic disease caused by roundworms, was previously eradicated in the Maldives, with the last case detected in 2004. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease eradicated in 2016. However, the disease reemerged in the Maldives in December last year after a 20-year hiatus.

The first case was found on 14 December. All the cases confirmed so far are believed to be imported, with all the patients being migrant workers, according to HPA. No Maldivians have been confirmed to have the disease.

Screenings were carried out in various locations, including Kulhudhuffushi City, Malé, Villimalé, Hulhumalé, Thilafushi, and Gulhifalhu. The HPA is still conducting random sampling and screening for the disease, stating that there is no community spread.

The first cases were found in Kulhudhuffushi City, Haa Dhaalu Atoll, which prompted authorities to initiate an extensive screening campaign. A total of 25 cases were found in Kulhudhuffushi City, and another seven were confirmed in the Malé region. All of them were migrant workers. In total, 32 cases were found.

Filariasis is a parasitic infection caused by roundworms and transmitted by female mosquitoes of the genera Culex, Anopheles, Aedes, and Mansoni. A person is infected when a mosquito deposits parasitic larvae in the skin and passes through the blood vessel. The disease can be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites.