A computer illustration showing Leishmania parasites in the blood. Image Credit: Science Photo Library/Imago Images

Health India 1. March 2024

The End of Black Fever in This Country Is Near

India is making rapid progress toward eliminating black fever within the country.

“The achievement could strengthen the commitment to future public health initiatives and potentially attract more support and resources for similar endeavors towards other vector-borne diseases,” says Dr. Kavita Singh, director for South Asia at the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative.

Black fever, also known as kala-azar or visceral leishmaniasis, is considered to be the second deadliest parasitic disease after malaria, with about 200 million people affected every year. According to recent government data, the number of black fever cases within India dropped to 520 individuals last year. Less than two decades ago, in 2008, 33,000 cases of black fever were detected across the country. Former director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr. Nirmal Kumar Ganguly, has called this progress a “significant gain” for the country and the world. Different initiatives have been rolled out in recent years to ensure progress against the disease, even in the most remote areas of India. They follow in the footsteps of Bangladesh, who declared they were officially black-fever-free as of 2023.


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