Kala azar cases in India fell to 834 in 2022 from 44,533 in 2007 — a 98.7 per cent decline.
- As many as 632 endemic blocks (99.8 per cent) spread across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal have received elimination status (less than one case per 10,000).
- Visceral leishmaniasis or kala-azar is the most serious form of the disease and as of November 2022, about 89 per cent of the global cases were reported from eight countries: Brazil, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan, WHO noted. India contributes 11.5 per cent of total cases reported globally.
- Currently, more than 90 per cent of the Kala-azar cases are contributed by Bihar and Jharkhand.
About kala azar
- After malaria, kala-azar is the deadliest parasitic disease in the world. It is one of the three conditions in the disease group called leishmaniasis caused by the protozoa parasite Leishmania.
- The parasite is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female phlebotomine sandfly, a tiny 2-3 mm long insect vector, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
- The disease mainly affects poor people in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and is associated with malnutrition and poor housing, population displacement, weak immune system and lack of resources.
- India is committed to eliminating Kala-azar or Black Fever from the country by 2023.
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