Kala-azar outbreak kills one woman, 13 hospitalised

April 12, 2017

The Kathmandu Post, Aman koirala, 12th April 2017, Sarlahi

Kala-azar outbreak at Raiterkhor in Ishworpur Municipality of Sarlahi district has led to the death of a woman and hospitalisation of 13 villagers.

Ramdulari Devi Majhi while undergoing treatment at the District Hospital on Monday evening. Majhi and 13 others from her village were admitted to the hospital after they were diagnosed with kala-azar symptoms recently.  

Kala-azar, also known Visceral Leishmaniasis or black fever, is the second largest parasitic killer in the world, after malaria, taking lives of 20,000 people annually, according to the WHO. The Leishmania parasites are transmitted through the bites of infected female phlebotomine sand flies. The symptoms of this disease include weight loss, weakness, cough and a fever that lasts for weeks or months.

The outbreak of the disease in Raiterkhor was discovered after the District Public Health Office (DPHO) mobilised a medical team there after the villagers complained of an unknown disease sweeping the settlement and the death of a man, who has been identified as Nuthani Majhi. 

The medical team had initially found kala-azar symptoms in six people. The second round of medical examinations conducted in Raiterkhor on Saturday had found 14 more cases. 

Harishchandra Sah, the DPHO chief, said on Tuesday that the sick people were receiving treatment and there was no problem in Raiterkhor.

Krishna Thakur, a Raiterkhor local, however, said that treating the sick villagers alone was not enough, claiming that many families were still at risk due to lack of awareness. The DPHO should also be conducting awareness programmes to prevent the disease, he demanded.