Leishmania parasites, computer illustration. Each protozoan has a long flagellum (thread-like structure) that is used for locomotion. The Leishmania protozoans are the cause of the tropical disease leishmaniasis, which is transmitted by bites from infected sandflies. Image Credit: Kateryna Kon/Science Photo Library via Getty ImagesHealth India
Deadly Disease Almost Entirely Eradicated
Dedicated efforts to eradicate the life-threatening disease kala-azar in India have paid off since the number of cases dropped in an outstanding way with almost 99% fewer cases in 2022 than in 2007, a promising feat for the country, whose goal is to eliminate the disease by 2023.
“We are working holistically with the state government and other stakeholders to achieve elimination in Jharkhand,” explains Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. Jharkhand is one of four endemic states where the status of kala-azar disease must be reviewed, hopefully to join the list of 632 endemic blocks that have already achieved elimination status.
Kala-azar – also known as Black Fever and visceral leishmaniasis – is the second deadliest parasitic killer in the world after malaria. Indeed, if left untreated, kala-azar is fatal in over 95% of the cases. Over the years, the central government of India took steps to eradicate the disease on its territory through interventions, rural electrification, testing, treatment, and periodic high-level review. So much so that the number of cases went from 44,533 in 2007 to 834 in 2022, an impressive 98.7% decline.