Kala-azar aka black fever spreads in West Bengal; know what is it, symptoms and treatment

   Kala-azar aka black fever spreads in West Bengal; know what is it, symptoms and treatment

Kala-azar aka black fever is spreading at a massive scale in West Bengal districts. Almost 65 cases of black fever have been reported in districts including Kalimpong, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur,  Darjeeling and Dakshin Dinajpur in the last couple of weeks. The officials have suggested that black fever or Kala Azar was practically eradicated from West Bengal, but recent surveillance led to the detection of 65 cases in 11 districts. Few cases were also reported from Purulia, Murshidabad, Birbhum and Bankura districts. So far, no case has been detected in the capital of the state Kolkata.

What is Kala-azar or Black Fever?

It should be noted that Kala-azar is a fatal disease if left untreated in over 95% of cases. It is mainly transmitted by the bites of sandflies infected with the parasite ‘leishmania donovani’ and that’s why it is also known as Visceral leishmaniasis (VL). It is one of the top parasitic diseases with a high outbreak and mortality rate. 

What are the causes of Kala-azar or Black Fever?

The disease is associated with malnutrition, poor housing, weak immune system, and affects some of the poorest people. Leishmaniasis is also associated environmental changes such as deforestation, building of dams, irrigation schemes and urbanization.

What are the symptoms of Kala-azar or Black Fever?

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), people infected with black fever may experience irregular bouts of fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen, liver and anaemia. 

What is the treatment of Kala-azar or Black Fever?

Diagnosis of black fever is carried out by combining clinical signs with parasitological, or serological tests (such as rapid diagnostic tests), according to WHO. 

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