Only a few decades ago, the South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka was plagued by malaria. Today, the country is free of the disease, the Associated Press reports.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the "remarkable public health achievement" on Monday, September 5, and outlined the steps Sir Lanka took to eliminate the deadly, mosquito-borne illness. In a release, they explained that the nation was once among the world’s most malaria-stricken countries during the mid-20th century. But, thanks in part to a health campaign that targeted the mosquito-borne Plasmodium parasite responsible for the disease, mobile malaria clinics were able to provide more effective treatments and reduce transmission rates in afflicted areas. Improved public health education and effective surveillance also played a role. Today, WHO says, no transmitted cases of malaria have been recorded in Sri Lanka for nearly four years.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the country is now Asia’s third nation to be officially declared “malaria free,” following the Maldives and Singapore. And with a population of nearly 21 million, Sri Lanka is home to far more people than either country, which each have less a quarter of that population.

[h/t Associated Press]

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