Bihar to begin mass drug administration drive against filariasis on Sept 20
Bihar is set to begin mass drug administration (MDA) to eliminate filariasis, an infectious tropical disease caused by round worms that spreads by insects such as black flies and mosquitoes. The programme, to be conducted in 22 districts of the start, will begin on September 20, said health officials.
The state is yet to decide the date for the second round MDA in the remaining 16 districts.
Mass drug administration is done once a year with diethylcarbamazine citrate and Albendazole and administered to all community members, excluding toddlers, pregnant women and seriously ill people.
Bihar missed the MDA rounds slated for May 2021 due to the second wave of Covid-19. MDA was last done in 11 districts of the state in September and October 2020.
A transmission assessment survey will also be conducted in districts of Arwal, Gaya, Kishanganj, Purnia, Bhagalpur and Katihar to determine if infections have reduced enough for MDA to be discontinued this year.
As part of the MDA round, which is generally for 14 days, health workers will conduct door-to-door visits and administer anti-filarial medicines to beneficiaries.
Dr Neeraj Dhingra, director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, told state health officers that 90% coverage during MDA rounds was essential for the state to eliminate filariasis, said an officer privy to the review meeting on lymphatic filariasis and kala-azar convened here on Tuesday.
Lymphatic filariasis is endemic in all 38 districts of Bihar. As many as 125,000 lymphoedema (swelling in body part, usually in the arms or legs) and hydrocele (swelling in scrotum) cases were reported in the state, as per government data of 2020-21.