- Kala-azar, also called Visceral leishmaniasis, is the most severe form of leishmaniasis and, without proper diagnosis and treatment, is associated with high fatality.
- Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania.
- It is transmitted through the bite of sand flies.
- Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India.
- There are three main forms of leishmaniasis
- Visceral, which affects multiple organs and is the most serious form of the disease
- Cutaneous, which causes skin sores and is the most common form
- Mucocutaneous, which causes skin and mucosal lesion
- Visceral leishmaniasis, which is commonly known as Kala-azar in India, is fatal in over 95% of the cases, if left untreated.
What is the issue?
- The only drug available against leishmaniasis, miltefosine, is rapidly losing its effectiveness because of emerging resistance to this drug due to a decrease in its accumulation inside the parasite, which is necessary for the drug to kill the parasite.
Why in News?
A team of researchers have found new biomolecules to fight drug resistance in Kala-azar.
Kala-azar Elimination Programme in India