What is Kala-azar?
Kala Azar is also known asBlack feverThis is because it makes the arms, legs, abdomen and face turn grey. Symptoms of Kala Azar it can be difficult to identify, especially in fair-skinned people. It is a type of slow, progressive and naturally occurring disease that is caused and spread by a protozoan parasite of the genus Leishmania. In India this type of parasite is present in the form of “Leishmania donovani”. This parasite is known to cause harmful effects on the reticuloendothelial or RES system (90% of the RES system is present in the liver) and abundantly affects the bone marrow, liver and spleen.
There is another term that is associated with kala-azar known as post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL). This condition occurs when the parasite Leishmania donovani invades the cells of the skin, remains and develops and shows skin lesions. kala-azar tends to show PKDL after several years of treatment with Kala Azar itself.
What is post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL)?
Post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) is usually a sequel to Kala Azar or visceral leishmaniasis. This medical condition results in symptoms like a macular, papular or nodular rash usually on the face, upper arms, body, etc.
- Kala Azar is the most common disease in places like East Africa and the Indian subcontinent.
- At least 5-10% of people are reported to develop the fatal condition.
- PKDL takes about 6 months to a year to develop after Kala Azar is apparently cured and may develop earlier.
- Quackery is a common and significant problem in the treatment of deadly diseases. This makes government clinics accessible to people with low poverty line. However, many people still take the help of unlicensed doctors in the name of low prices and free treatments.
- Men are more likely to develop Kala Azar than women.
- Symptoms of Kala Azar are similar in both children and adults.
- 90% of kala-azar cases are prevalent in states of India like Bihar. There, in Bihar, children bear the brunt of 50% of the loss of disability-adjusted life years.
- If a person has an HIV-positive condition, he or she is more likely to develop Kala Azar.
Major risk factors leading to the fatal disease Kala Azar
Poverty increases the risk of parasite attack. Poor housing and sanitation (such as use of utensils, adequate water availability, sewage management, etc.) can increase the prevalence of sand fly breeding and access to humans. Crowded houses are more susceptible to sand flies, as they are a good source of blood meal for such insects. Also, human behavior such as sleeping on the ground, poor sanitation and poor spacing issues in the house, etc. may bring more risk.
Diets that lack essential nutrients such as protein energy, iron, vitamin A, and zinc increase the risk of infection and thus expose people to full-blown disease.
Kala Azar symptoms are more prevalent in people who lead to movement without being immune to existing transmission cycles. People can connect with the Cala Azar parasites through their occupational environment and widespread deforestation.
Changes in the environment
The changing effect of urbanization and human encroachment into forested areas also has a hidden effect on many diseases.
The parasite leishmaniasis is sensitive to climate and can lead to many changes in the environment in which people live or congregate.
- If there is a change in temperature, precipitation and humidity, this can lead to severe impacts on vectors and reservoir hosts. These parasites change the distribution and influence the population size.
- small fluctuations in temperature are more prone to the development cycle of the parasite Leishmania promastigotes in sand flies. This allows the parasites to enter areas where the disease does not appear to be prevalent.
- drought, famine and flood – these conditions can lead to a huge change in any environmental conditions of a state/province/country. Access to poor nutrition can lead to more harmful side effects for people’s health.
What are the most common symptoms of Kala azar?
Kala-Azar or visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a type of disease that is caused by the parasite Leishmania donovani and this parasite is transmitted with the help of sand flies.
The general Symptoms of Kala Azar are:
- constant fever
- weight loss
- enlargement of the spleen and liver and
Your skin is likely to become dry, patchy and flaky and lead to loss of body hair
Light-skinned people may experience grayish discoloration of the extremities (hands or feet), feet, face, and abdomen. This is why Kala Azar is known as Black fever.
- Loss of interest: Kala Azar can cause loss of interest in people and loss of desire to do anything. It can also lead to a pale appearance, weight loss and weakness in the body.
- Abnormal enlargement: Kala Azar causes you to produce fat only in certain parts of the body, including the spleen, liver, and abdomen. This can happen due to the enlargement of body organs which usually become numb and soft.
- Uneven skin: The skin becomes dry, scaly, sore or prone to sores and affects parts of the body such as hands, feet, face and abdomen.
- anemia: This is a type of condition that occurs due to loss of hemoglobin or red blood cells and if the progression occurs rapidly, it can make the body susceptible to many other diseases.
- Anemia along with weight loss (weakness): This usually creates an uncomfortable physical condition of the body and affects the person greatly.
How can Kala Azar be prevented and controlled?
Prevention and control of Leishmaniasis/Cala Azar require primary attention and a combination of intervention strategies. This is because this disease leads to many biological changes in the body. Therefore, a key strategic treatment is needed. The main strategies that can help prevent the disease are:
- Early diagnosis: This is effective and helps to prevent the spread of diseases and complete disability or bringing a person closer to death. Early diagnosis helps monitor the spread or burden of the parasite in the body. With the help and intervention strategies of the WHO (World Health Organization), access to medicines in low-poverty areas is now available through donor programs.
- Vector control: This helps reduce disease transmission by affecting sand fly populations. There are various controlled methods that are initiated by the government and these are:
- insecticidal spray
- environmental management
- personal protection
- Effective disease surveillance: This is an important step that helps monitor the spread of the epidemic and maintain the mortality rate of the particular condition or treatment.
- Maintaining animal tanks: This should be tailored to local situations.
- Social mobilization and education: Transferring knowledge to the community is one of the important steps that help prevent human behavior and bring about interventional changes at the local level.
Kala azar is endemic in 76 countries and has affected 200 million people worldwide at risk of infection. There are different ones Kala Azar Symptoms according to environmental conditions, efficiency and side effects of the disease. There is a type of medicine called pentavalent antimonies which is given in Kala Azar’s case with a 30 day course of intramuscular injections. With this great efficiency and vigilance, the researcher hopes to introduce simple treatment regimens, improved safety methods and reduced risk of drug resistance.