Twenty cases of Leishmaniasis (Kala-azar) were reported from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for the first time this year, 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 hinting at the entry of the virus in the region.
A certain section of epidemiologists, though, claim it does qualify as an outbreak since it is the first time that the cases have been reported from J&K in such number. 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 of parasite movement. 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) that 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.
Addressing a conference on “Partnering for Success — Reducing India’s Burden of Neglected Diseases in the capital on Monday, health ministry officials claimed they were in the process of certifying Yaws — a neglected tropical disease that affects the skin, bone and joints, as an eradicated disease.