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Monday, February 20, 2012

India : After polio, Indian state Bihar targets sand-fly transmitted disease

Article via Xinhua :

" Bihar, an eastern Indian state which has not reported a single case of polio since September 2010, is now turning its attention to "kala azar", a disease transmitted by the sand fly that killed at least 50 people and affected 15,000 in the state last year.

"Bihar has not reported even a single case of polio in the last 16 months and the state has virtually become polio free, now we will work hard to make it a kala azar free state," Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey said in Patna, the capital of Bihar, over telephone.

Kala azar, medically called Visceral leishmaniasis, is also known as the poor man's disease because it affects the poorest.

Choubey said the government had decided to observe March 15 as the kala azar eradication day. He said special programs would be organized in all affected districts from March 15 to March 21 every year.

"We have to check and control the tiny sand fly that causes kala azar and create awareness about preventable measures among people, mostly the poorest of the poor in affected districts," Choubey said.

The state government has launched a massive anti-kala azar strategy to contain the spread of sand fly vectors in 16 seriously affected districts."

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