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India has eliminated Kala-azar

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: BS

 Context: India has successfully achieved its target to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis, commonly known as kala-azar, according to data from the National Centre for Vector Borne Diseases Control (NCVBDC)

 

About Kala-azar: 

It is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania (transmitted by sandfly bites). It progresses slowly and primarily affects organs like the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. In India, it’s caused by Leishmania donovani, with the term “kala-azar” meaning “black disease” due to skin discoloration. Post-Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL) occurs when the parasite affects skin cells, resulting in dermal lesions.

Despite persistent challenges, India met its elimination goal, initially set for 2010 but extended until 2023. Kala-azar has long been a health concern in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. In 2023, India reported only 520 cases of kala-azar, meeting the elimination criteria defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) started in 2003-04 to prevent and control diseases like Japanese Encephalitis (JE), Dengue, Kala-azar, Lymphatic Filariasis, Malaria, and Chikungunya