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State joins hands with WHO to conduct awareness drive

KOLKATA: State Health department has joined hands with the World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct awareness campaign against filariasis in 5 districts where the prevalence of infected patients is higher.

According to the Health department figure, there are around 21.8 lakh patients in Bengal who have been suffering from Filariasis. Sources said that the filaria infected patients are reported from eight districts of Bengal. Western districts which are adjacent to Odisha are mostly affected. The health department has been organizing campaigns in various districts to make people aware about the disease and also to distribute medicines among locally infected patients. The camps are being held in the districts like Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia, West Burdwan, Murshidabad etc where a large number of people are attending the programme. The people are given medicines to control the Filariasis. The campaign programme was started in the districts on February 8 and it would end on February 13.

The National Vector Bourne Disease Control Programme has identified eight districts in the state where the maximum number of cases have been reported.

"Pregnant women, children below the age of 2 and those suffering from various critical ailments are not allowed to take part in the awareness campaign. Filariasis is a disease caused due to the biting of mosquitoes. The disease can be controlled through the application of medicines among the masses. We would carry out an awareness campaign among the people in the infected areas from time to time to check the further spread of the disease. Once a patient is infected with Filariasis, there is hardly any chance for recovery," a health department official said.

Filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by an infection with roundworms of the Filarioidea type. These are spread by blood-feeding insects such as black flies and mosquitoes. They belong to the group of diseases called helminthiases. A small percentage of persons will develop lymphedema. This is caused by fluid collection because of improper functioning of the lymph system resulting in swelling. This mostly affects the legs but it can also occur in the arms, breasts and genitalia. Most people develop these symptoms years after being infected. Odisha, the neighbouring state of Bengal reports a huge number of such cases every year.

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