Prime Minister recently said that India will completely eradicate Kala Azar disease soon.

 

What is ‘Kala Azar’?

  • It is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India. Neglected tropical diseases are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries.
  • It is caused by a parasite called Leishmania, which is transmitted through the bite of sand flies.
  • There are three types of leishmaniasis –
    • Visceral leishmaniasis, which affects multiple organs and is the most serious form of the disease.
    • Cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores and is the most common form.
    • Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin and mucosal lesions.
    • Visceral leishmaniasis, which is commonly known as Kala-azar in India, is fatal in over 95% of the cases, if left untreated.
  • Symptoms —
      • Initially, leishmania parasites cause skin sores or ulcers at the site of the bite. If the disease progresses, it attacks the immune system.
      • Kala azar presents after two to eight months with more generalised symptoms including prolonged fever and weakness.
  • Treatment — Treatment of Kala Azar is done through liposomal AmB – this is the drug of choice for immunocompetent patients. There are other treatment options available such as paromomycin, miltefosin and multidrug therapy treatment.