A new genus of malaria called “plasmodium ovale’’ has been detected in Kerala, state Health Minister KK Shailaja wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

The disease was detected in a soldier who travelled from Sudan, she said. He was being treated at the district hospital in Kannur.

Shailaja, however, added that the spread of the disease can be avoided with timely treatment and preventive measures.

Protozoa, which is responsible for malaria, can be found in five varieties: Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malaria, Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium ovale.

Among these, Plasmodium Vivax and Plasmodium Falciparum are the most common in India, according to the Hindustan Times.

Plasmodium ovale is known to be primarily found through the sub-Saharan African region, but has been reported in islands of the western Pacific, Philippines and New Guinea as well, according to The Indian Express. It is rarely fatal.

India had reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Thrissur district of Kerala last year, when a student, who was studying in Wuhan University, China, and had travelled back. The first case of Nipah virus disease was also reported in the state’s Kozhikode district in 2018.