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Daily Editorials – Vector Born Diseases-India


Vector Born Diseases-India

  1. Most widely prevalent Vector borne diseases in India are-
  2. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome
  3. Japanese Encephalitis Facts
  4. Lymphatic Filariasis
  5. Steps taken By Government
  6. Facts
  7. Cause
  8. Suggestions

Context –  World Health Organisation has declared that the Zika virus no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. It caused about 2,300 confirmed cases of microcephaly.

Most widely prevalent Vector borne diseases in India are-


It is transmitted by the infective bite of Anopheles mosquito . Two types of parasites of  malaria commonly found in India are Plasmodium vivax, P. falciparum .

Steps taken The Government Of India has target for a malaria free India by 2030 . National framework For Malaria Elimination in india(2016-2030) was launched in february this year


Dengue is transmitted by the infective bite of Aedes Aegypti mosquito. It occurs in two forms: Dengue Fever which is severe flu like illness  and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever(DHF) which is more serious and can cause death .

Steps taken Many guidelines have been released by government from time to time, steps like television advertisement, timely anti mosquito sprays  are taken.


  • Chikungunya fever, is a viral illness that is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The disease resembles dengue fever, and is characterized by severe, sometimes persistent, joint pain (arthritis), as well as fever and rash.
  • Chikungunya occurs mainly in Africa, India , and Southeast Asia

Steps taken- same as dengue .

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome 

  • It is a group of Clinical neurologic manifestation caused by wide range of viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemical and toxins.
  • Characterized by an acute onset of fever and clinical neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma .
  • The causative agent of AES vary with season and geographical location, and mostly affect population below 15 years
  • AES cases in India has not restricted itself to the JE . This is the biggest challenge clinicians in the field are facing .

Japanese Encephalitis Facts

  • It is a viral brain fever transmitted by Culex mosquito. It is primarily zoonotic in its natural cycle and man is an accidental host. JE virus primarily affects central nervous system .
  • Culex mosquito breeds in stagnant water , acquiring infection from feeding on infected domestic pigs . Many doctors have blamed the warmer temperatures extending till november as a cause of increased cases.
  • Fatality rates for severe infections hover between 20% and 30%, according to WHO .It can leave significant neurological effects, especially in children.
  • About 30% to 50% of the survivors can struggle to walk or suffer cognitive disabilities
  • In 2016 more than 80 children have perished due to this disease in Orissa .

Steps taken JENVAC , an indigenously produced anti japanese encephalitis vaccine was launched in 2013.

There have been initiatives to help the people residing in the endemic zones for alternative professions such as giving up pig-rearing since pigs are the primary host for JE virus

Kala Azar

  • Kala-azar is a slow progressing indigenous disease caused by a protozoan parasite of genus Leishmania .
  • It is caused by the parasite Leishmania donovani , is transmitted in India by the bite of the sand fly vector. It exists in two forms namely, Kala-azar (KA) and Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL).
  • The geographical spread of the disease is limited to 54 districts in 4 states in India. Of the four states namely Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, Bihar alone contributes more than 60% of the cases.

Steps Taken After the initial success like spraying DDT in those areas, Kala-azar resurged in 70s.

National Health Policy has Kala-azar Elimination by the year 2015 as a goal , the Elimination Programme is 100 per cent Centrally Supported

Lymphatic Filariasis 

  • Filariasis is caused by several round, coiled and threadlike parasitic worms belonging to the family filariidae.
  • These parasites after getting deposited on skin penetrate on their own or through the opening created by mosquito bites to reach the lymphatic system.
  • The Disease was recorded in India as early as 6th century B.C. by the famous Indian physician, Susruta . In 1709, Clarke called elephantoid legs in Cochin as Malabar legs.
  • North Western states and North eastern States are known to be free from indigenously acquired filarial infection.

Steps taken–  National Filaria Control Programme (NFCP) was launched in the country in 1955 with the objective of delimiting the problem, to undertake control measures in endemic areas and to train personnel to man the programme

Steps taken By Government

  • National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP) is the nodal agency for prevention and control of vector-borne diseases (VBDs), it guides the states/UTs under the overall umbrella of National Health Mission.
  • The main strategy recommended under the National Health Mission program for prevention and control of VBDs are disease management, integrated vector management (IVM) and supportive intervention including capacity building, information, education and communication/behavior change communication (IEC/BCC), monitoring and evaluation.
  • Universal Immunization Programme a vaccination program launched by the Government of India in 1985. The program consists of vaccination for nine diseases- tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, Hepatitis B, Diarrhoea, Japanese Encephalitis and Pneumonia.


  • About 95% population in the country resides in malaria endemic areas and 80% of malaria reported in the country is confined to areas consisting 20% of population residing in tribal, hilly, difficult and inaccessible areas.
  • Malaria cases have consistently declined from 2.08 million to 1.10 million during 2001 to 2014.
  • In 2016 , over 40500 cases of Chikungunya have been officially reported.
  • Till start of october this year , India reported over 7000 cases of Acute encephalitis syndrome and over 850 deaths.
  • Japanese Encephalitis has infected another 974 people and killed 167.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 390 million cases of dengue fever worldwide, and of the total number of cases, 96 million require medical treatment


  • India is a sub tropical country , with many vector borne diseases cycling along with monsoon .
  • Lack of sanitation and awareness .
  • Severe staff crunch and lack of doctors working in endemic areas.
  • Lack of resources in hospitals like single bed for patients , quick responses .
  • Confusion regarding the actual disease, as many have same initial symptoms.


  • Most dengue cases can be managed as outpatients and do not require hospitalization.
  • Development of Pan-anti-virus drugs is need of the day. They are not only effective across a wide range of viruses, but also reduce the time lost between the identification of the virus and treatment .
  • Focus should be on empowering grass root workers like ASHA , creating awareness about sanitation.
  • Most of the diseases can be controlled if identified earlier and medication is monitored. Major role is to be played by people by keeping their surroundings clean .
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