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SASTM Newsflash - Leishmaniasis - India

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LEISHMANIASIS - INDIA: (JAMMU AND KASHMIR)

 

20 cases of leishmaniasis [visceral leishmaniasis, VL] were reported from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for the 1st time this year [2013], even as the central government claims it is very close to eliminating the vector-borne neglected tropical disease in the country.

 

The cases have been reported from the Doda district of the state since March this year [2013], hinting at the entry of the parasite in the region. Some epidemiologists, however, claim it does qualify as an outbreak, since it is the 1st time that the cases have been reported from J&K in such numbers.

 

The officials from the union ministry of health and family welfare, however, call them sporadic cases. "We have sporadic occurrences of the disease being reported from the states of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, etc. Himachal Pradesh has transmission of the disease, and it shares its boundary with J&K, so there's a chance that the parasite moved. There's nothing alarming though," said Dr AC Dhariwal, director, national vector-borne disease control programme, Health Ministry. "We are investigating the matter," Dhariwal added.

 

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which analyses the pattern and devises ways to control communicable diseases in the country, will be sending a team to the state to deal with the outbreak. "If it is indeed an outbreak, then we will have to start the national control programme soon, and those persons infected with the disease need to be put on treatment," said Dr LS Chauhan, director, NCDC.

 

Communicated by: ProMED-mail

 

Leishmaniasis is a poverty-related disease. It affects the poorest of the poor and is associated with malnutrition, displacement, poor housing, illiteracy, gender discrimination, weakness of the immune system, and lack of resources. Leishmaniasis is also linked to environmental changes, such as deforestation, building of dams, new irrigation schemes and urbanization, and the accompanying migration of non-immune people to endemic areas. 90 percent of all visceral leishmaniasis cases occur in Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Nepal and Sudan.

 

 

 


 

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