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Massive campaign on filaria soon

By Our Staff Reporter

VISAKHAPATNAM, MAY 16. A mass drug administration programme will be conducted in the city on June 5 to fight the spread of lymphatic filariasis, the district Collector, Sunil Sharma, told reporters here on Saturday. The Central Government has identified Visakhapatnam and 15 other districts in the State as "endemic areas" for the spread of the disease caused by mosquitoes.

In all, 250 districts in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and other states have been declared endemic zones.

The drug administration on June 5 will be part of a continuous five-year programme against the disease. On the lines of the Pulse Polio programme, June 5 will be observed as National Filaria Day, and drug administration will be taken up in all endemic districts for the next five years. After a district coordination committee meeting here on Saturday, Mr. Sharma told reporters that Anakapalle, Narsipatnam and few other areas had been identified as filaria-prone. He said the highest number of cases of the disease (386) was reported from Visakhapatnam (urban), followed by 286 from Anakapalle, 118 from Gajuwaka, 65 from Vadacheepurapalle, 60 from Payakaraopeta, 52 from Chodavaram, 35 from Narsipatnam, 31 from Yelamanchili and 28 from Bhimunipatnam.

Mr. Sharma said a massive door-to-door campaign would be undertaken and children above two years of age in these areas would be administered diethyle carbomazine citrate tablets. Patients suffering from filaria would be treated, he said. B. K. Naik, district coordinator, hospital services, said that those needing to be operated upon would be referred to the King George Hospital. Also, over 7,000 teams comprising two persons each would be deployed and a team of employees from the Health Department would be deputed to Hyderabad on May 19 to educate people on prevention. These, in turn, would train other employees and voluntary agencies at various levels. Coordination Committees at the mandal level would be set up, and blood smear samples would be collected for clinical investigation. The Regional Director of Health, Pratibha, and the District Medical and Health Officer, Narayana Rao, were also present.

According to the World Health Organisation, India sees about six million new cases of filaria every year. About 420 million people suffer from lymphatic filariasis in 73 countries across the world - one-third of these cases are reported from urban areas.

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