Kala Azar


India achieved a significant milestone in the fight against Kala Azar in 2023 by reporting less than one case per 10,000 population across all blocks, marking the first time it met its elimination target.

Kala Azar

Kala azar, also known as visceral leishmaniasis, is a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by a parasitic infection. It is classified as one of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its prevalence in low- and middle-income countries and the lack of resources available for its treatment and control.

Here’s a summary of key points about kala azar:

  • Cause: The disease is caused by single-celled organisms called parasites belonging to the genus Leishmania. The most common parasite causing kala azar is Leishmania donovani, but other species can also be responsible.
  • Transmission: The parasites are transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female sandflies. Sandflies are tiny insects that are most active at dusk and dawn.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of kala azar typically develop gradually over weeks or months and can include:
    • Irregular fever
    • Significant weight loss
    • Enlargement of the spleen and liver
    • Anemia
    • Fatigue
    • Weakness
    • Abdominal pain
    • Skin darkening
    • Treatment: Fortunately, kala azar is treatable with medication. However, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent complications and death.
    • Prevention: There is no vaccine available for kala azar. Preventive measures focus on avoiding sandfly bites, such as using insect repellents, wearing protective clothing, and using bed nets treated with insecticides.