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Kala Azar

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Kala Azar


The only drug available against leishmaniasis, miltefosine, is rapidly losing its effectiveness because of emerging resistance to this drug due to a decrease in its accumulation inside the parasite, which is necessary for the drug to kill the parasite.

  • So, a team of researchers had been exploring ways to tackle miltefosine resistance. This team has now shown allosteric modulation of transporter proteins of Leishmania using computationally-designed synthetic peptides.
  • These promising research outcomes indicate that this approach could prove useful in the long run to develop novel therapeutics against drug-resistant Leishmania parasites.


What is it? Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala-azar, black fever, and Dumdum fever, is the most severe form of leishmaniasis and, without proper diagnosis and treatment, is associated with high fatality.

Spread: Caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus, migrates to the internal organs such as the liver, spleen (hence “visceral”), and bone marrow.

Signs and symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen.

Additional facts:

Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India.

It is caused by a parasite called Leishmania, which is transmitted through the bite of sand flies.

There are three main forms of leishmaniasis – visceral, which affects multiple organs and is the most serious form of the disease, cutaneous, which causes skin sores and is the most common form); and mucocutaneous, which causes skin and mucosal lesion).



Prelims Link:

  1. About Leishmaniasis.
  2. Forms of leishmaniasis.
  3. Different names of Kala Azar.
  4. Symptoms. 
  5. What are protozoans?
  6. What is miltefosine used for?

Mains Link:

How is kala- azar caused? Examine what measures has the government taken to tackle those disease.

Sources: pib.