West Bengal has reported 65 cases of Kala Azar in the past few weeks. From symptoms of the disease to means of treatment, learn all about Kala Azar here from the experts.
Over the past few weeks, West Bengal has seen an increase in the number of Kala Azar cases. In 11 districts of the state including Darjeeling, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Kalimpong, 65 cases of black fever have been reported. In light of the rampant spread of Kala Azar, Dr. Ajay Agarwal – Director and HOD, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital Noida spoke to HT Lifestyle and explained the causes and types of this condition. Kala Azar or black fever is a disease caused by infection with Leishmania parasites. It is transmitted by the female sandfly – Phlebotomus argentipes. It is also known as visceral leishmaniasis or black fever or Dum-Dum fever.
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It is due to a chronic infection of the reticuloendothelial system. Infections range from asymptomatic to progressively symptomatic. In Kala Azar, the incubation period is usually 2-4 months. The patient becomes fatal after 6 months to 2 years if not treated properly, Dr. Ajay Agarwal explained.
Cutaneous Leishmaniasis: This is another form of Kala-azar that leads to skin lesions – mainly ulcers on exposed parts of the body, which creates scarring and severe disabilities. The lesions are usually painless but can be painful, especially if the open sores are infected with bacteria. Types of cutaneous leishmaniasis:
Mucosal leishmaniasis: In this type of cutaneous leishmaniasis, the infection results from the dissemination of parasites from the skin to the naso-oropharyngeal mucosa.
Dr. Surendra Kumar, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Accord Super Specialty Hospital, Faridabad highlighted the symptoms of this disease – “The most common presentation of Kala Azar or LV is high grade fever with chills and chills which can last for up to weeks; followed by splenomegaly and hepatomegaly with distension of the abdomen and swelling of the feet.It can also cause pigmentation of the skin.Kala Azar can mimic other febrile illnesses such as malaria, typhoid fever, tuberculosis and other fungal infections. Immunocompromised people are very vulnerable to Kala Azar.”
Kala Azar is treated with liposomal AmB – it is the drug of choice for immunocompetent patients. There are other treatment options available such as paromomycin, miltefosine and combination chemotherapy.