Kala azar or visceral leishmaniasis a neglected tropical disease and the second-largest parasitic killer in the world. India accounts for over 30% of the total kala azar cases in the world. 80% of these cases occur in Bihar. Since 2007, MSF is providing treatment for kala azar in Bihar. While there has been a sharp decline in the number of kala azar cases over the last few years, the disease cannot be eliminated without addressing one of its complications: kala azar-HIV co-infection.
Kala azar is one of the most dangerous neglected tropical diseases in the world. It is spread to humans by bites from infected female sand flies and attacks the immune system. While cases of the disease are declining steadily, kala azar-HIV co-infection is fast becoming a serious threat.
After treating over 12,000 kala azar patients in Bihar, northeast India, MSF launched activities to treat people co-infected with kala azar and HIV in 2017. Over 700 people have received treatment since the project opened.
Kala azar is one of the most dangerous neglected tropical diseases in the world. It is spread to humans by bites from infected female sand flies and attacks the immune system.
As well as suffering a lack of awareness and social stigma, kala azar-HIV co-infected patients are also prone to other infections, relapse more often and are at a greater risk of death. 39-year-old Zoya shares her story of recovery after being treated for kala azar and HIV at Doctors Without Borders India / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) ward in Patna, Bihar.
Kala azar Elimination is not possible without addressing the emerging issue of kala azar-HIV coinfection. As a disease that affects the most vulnerable and poorest in society, the deep-rooted stigma and the inadequate state of health facilities make this coinfection an urgent public health concern. The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working on the kala azar-HIV coinfection since 2017 in collaboration with Rajendra Memorial Research Institute (RMRI) and Government of Bihar in Patna.
Kala jwar. Black fever. Dumdum fever. Visceral leishmaniasis.
These are the many names by which kala azar is known. The disease spreads through the bite of a sandfly or balu makkhi and is almost always fatal if left untreated. India accounts for 50 per cent of the global burden of kala azar, and Bihar has 80 per cent of the cases found within the country.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar recently visited the MSF-run HIV–kala azar co-infection ward at the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS) Hospital in Patna, Bihar.