Kala-Azar was considered to have been eradicated from West Bengal, but the recent cases point at a different story.
Kolkata: Over the last few weeks, West Bengal has recorded at least 65 cases of ‘Kala-Azar’ or the black fever. The maximum number of cases were recorded in Darjeeling, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Kalimpong districts. Cases have been recorded in a total of 11 districts.
Kala-Azar was considered to have been eradicated from West Bengal, but the recent cases point at a different story and the administration has already begun a thorough surveillance of the cases. The disease is mainly transmitted by bites of sandflies infected with the parasite ‘leishmania donovani’ and that’s why it is also known as Visceral leishmaniasis (VL).
Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia, Murshidabad districts have also reported a few cases of black fever. Kolkata is yet to record any case of black fever, an administrative official of the West Bengal government said.
A top official of the state, a bureaucrat, said, “The government has decided to provide treatment free of cost to all those who are diagnosed with the disease.” He added that patients affected by black fever are being given nutritious food.
According to the preliminary report, the disease was mostly prevalent in people who have spent some time in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Some individuals are also from Bangladesh.
The senior government official said if the disease is detected at any private lab, the same should immediately be brought to the notice of the government so that necessary treatment can be initiated.
According to WHO, black fever “is characterised by irregular bouts of fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anaemia. The disease is highly endemic in the Indian subcontinent and in East Africa, where an estimated 200 000–400 000 new cases occur each year”.